Armida (dramma eroico by Haydn)
- Mary Hunter
Dramma eroico in three acts by Joseph Haydn to a libretto by Nunziato Porta , after Torquato Tasso ’s epic poem Gerusalemme liberata; Eszterháza, 26 February 1784.
The original cast featured Matilde Bologna (Armida), Prospero Braghetti (Rinaldo), Antonio Specioli (Ubaldo), Paolo Mandini (Idreno), Costanza Valdesturla (Zelmira) and Leopold Dichtler (Clotarco). Armida, the most performed opera at Eszterháza, received 54 performances between its première and 1788. It enjoyed modest success outside Eszterháza; most later performances were in German. Artaria published a collection of ‘favourite songs’ from the opera in 1787. Haydn’s work derives originally from an episode in Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata (published in 1581), but relies more immediately on librettos on the same subject by Durandi, De Rogatis, Bertati and an unknown adapter (set by Tozzi, 1775). Today Armida is among the most admired of Haydn’s operas. There is at least one recording (with Jessye Norman in the title role), and there were several staged performances in the 1980s including one given at the ...