From the dark side
Witch characters from baroque operas
Charpentier – Jacquet de la Guerre – Händel – Lully
Tuuli Lindeberg, soprano
Finnish Baroque Orchestra
The programme “From the dark side” takes a look at the twists and turns of the emotional life of the witches of baroque opera literature. The narrative interpretation of soprano Tuuli Lindeberg reveals the power and vulnerability of well-known baroque witches.
The protagonist of the concert, the tragic Medeia, is known from Greek mythology. The musical tragedy by Marc Antoine Charpentier, Médée, premiered at the Thêatre de Palais Royal in 1693. Medeia’s character is also found in Georg Philipp Händel’s opera Teseo (1713). The Armide and Alcina characters, on the other hand, are witch-inspired characters inspired by Medeia mythology and appear in Renaissance epic poetry, involved in Jean-Baptiste Lullly’s musical tragedy Armide (1686) and Händel’s operas Alcina (1735) and Rinaldo (1711).
On the surface, it would be easy to imagine that the witches in operas are simple “villains” who mainly intrigue and tune their traps. However, the multidimensional meanings written in the witches’ roles make the characters far more interesting than the flawless heroine and princesses of the opponent. Often behind the apparent malice are tragic experiences that have driven witch-bearing women to evil and darkness – a bit like Darth Vader from Star Wars of our time.
The witch characters in baroque operas are intelligent, strong, and cunning women who may have experienced alienation. They express extreme human emotions such as anger and love, and with their magical powers call on the demons of the Underworld to help. Storytelling in operas often proceeds in such a way that the blurring of reason and the loss of control drive witches to extreme deeds. At the symbolic level, it can also be a matter of reversing the roles of subjugator and subordinate. A weak and deceived woman thus becomes a strong and frightening queen of darkness through evil and wrongdoings.
Through the journey of witches, soprano Tuuli Lindeberg and the musicians of the Finnish Baroque Orchestra taste the expressive lyrics of baroque operas, the rich language of expression and the wide palette of tonal colors.
Duration: 1 h 15 min (no intermission)