Armida (opera by Dvořák)
- Jan Smaczny
Opera in four acts by Antonín Dvořák to a libretto by Jaroslav Vrchlický , after Torquato Tasso ’s epic poem Gerusalemme liberata; Prague, National Theatre, 25 March 1904.
With a common root in Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata, Vrchlický’s libretto bears clear resemblances to Quinault’s for Lully. The first act is set in Damascus as the Crusaders are advancing. The magician Ismen (baritone) persuades King Hydraot of Damascus (bass) to send his daughter Armida (soprano) to distract the Christian knights. Armida only agrees when Ismen conjures a picture of the camp and she recognizes the knight Rinald (tenor), whom she had seen and fallen in love with in a dream. In Act 2 there is already discontent at the slowness of the campaign in the Crusaders’ camp. A hermit Petr (bass), who senses that Armida will indeed cause a distraction, attempts to have her removed, but Rinald intervenes and takes her under his protection. In a frenzy of passion Armida and Rinald attempt to flee the camp but are discovered by Petr. As he calls the guards, Ismen appears in a chariot drawn by dragons and sweeps them away....