The opera Armida takes us into a world of exotic sorcery and profoundly human conflictual relationships. How does a young woman react when the man she loves seeks acclaim by indulging in fantasies of heroism? And when she is promised as a prize to the victor in the impending battle? Armida responds to the delirium of war and betrayal with her own struggle for love, making use of her magical talents. She forces the self-confident warriors to question their vision of manly heroism. But then she herself comes to doubt the role assigned to her, that of seductive enchantress. What does heaven want? What is any magic capable of if it's no longer a matter of anything more than treachery and revenge?
Joseph Haydn's last and most successful opera for the Eszterháza court theatre conjures up gigantic natural forces from the orchestra, and explores the characters' complex emotional states in moving arias and ensembles. Reflecting the emotional entanglements, Haydn increasingly breaks down the traditional recitative and aria structure in favour of fairly substantial scenes of music drama. Virtuoso coloratura and stirring musical narratives present special challenges for the young singers of the Bregenz Festival Opera Studio, who have an experienced collaborator in conductor Jonathan Brandani. After their acclaimed Marriage of Figaro, director Jörg Lichtenstein and set & costume designer Nikolaus Webern now team up once again to enter the magical world of Armida.