“True love and my amazing muscles triumph over all.”


The Sibelius Academy opera students, orchestra and choir will bring to stage their interpretation on G.F. Händel's opera Alcina. Each students has also explored the backgrounds and character of their own role. In the Opera behind the scenes blog they will present their characters in texts that are written together with opera researcher Liisamaija Hautsalo. They also came up with a specific motto or each character! Rachel McIntosh presents Ruggiero.


Who is Ruggiero in History?

The character of Ruggiero as he is known in Alcina originally appeared in Astremont, a 12th-century French epic. Later, Ruggiero one of the leading characters in Orlando Innamorato by Matteo Maria Boiardo and Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto.

In both Ariosto’s and Boiardo’s works, Ruggiero is painted as an ancestral father of the Este family of Ferrara. The Estes were patrons of both of the writers.

In Boiardo’s and Ariosto’s works, Ruggiero is raised in Libya as a Saracen warrior by the wizard Atlante. Depending on which work you read, he either stays hidden in a castle in Africa, protected by Atlante, or he converts to Christianity and marries Bradamante. (I guess we’re going with the latter.) Together, they seed the bloodline of a family of heroes that eventually leads to the birth of the Este family.

Who is Ruggiero in Alcina?

In Alcina, Ruggiero is depicted as a human man and a great hunter – perhaps one of the greatest hunters of all time ­– who has found himself in a real pickle.

Alcina, an evil sorceress who lives on an island with her sister, Morgana, and forest creatures who are the transfigured forms of her former lovers and playthings. Alcina was seduced by Ruggiero’s manly power and rugged good looks, and casts a spell so that he will forget his badass wife, Bradamante, and love her instead.

She is successful, and Ruggiero is transformed from a virile hunk of man into a doddering, amorous mess. 

Soon, however, he is rescued by Bradamante. Once he is freed from the spell, he is motivated to act by the love of his wife and by the desire for good to triumph over evil – even though he gains his own freedom, he demands that Alcina free “all the unlucky ones” who are trapped on her island.

Ruggiero’s journey throughout the opera is one of return to the self, of power, and of the triumph of true love.

Motto: “True love and my amazing muscles triumph over all.”

What happens in G.F. Händel’s opera, Alcina?

Knight Melisso and Bradamante, disguised as a man, are on a rescue mission to save Bradamante’s beloved, Ruggiero. Sorceress Alcina has caused a spell on Ruggiero and he is a prisoner in Alcinas enchanted island. Alcina’s sister Morgana, who is loved by Oronte, lives also in the same island. Arrival of the rescuers causes jealousy, when Morgana falls in love with disguised Bradamante.

Bradamante breaks Alcina’s spell and frees Ruggiero and all the other men, who Alcina had transformed into animals, rocks and plants.
Due to breaking the spell, Alcina and Morgana vanish up in smoke.

G.F.Händel: Alcina

Sibelius Academy opera, orchestra and choir
Vilppu Kiljunen, director
I-Han Fu and Sebastian Zinca, conductors
Jari Koivistoinen, chorus master
Aapo Häkkinen, music consultant
Riikka Mäntymaa, Csilla Szlovák and Elina Ström; students at AALTO Arts under Sofia Pantouvaki, costume designers
Tuija Luukkainen, makeup designer
Sirje Ruohtula, lighting designer


Alcina: Réka Bata
Morgana: Minna-Leena Lahti
Ruggiero: Rachel McIntosh
Bradamante: Ricciardo Isabella Shaw
Oronte: Topias Lundell
Melisso: Jussi Vänttinen / Henri Tikkanen


Fri 5 Apr at 18.30
Sat 6 Apr at 16.00
Sun 7 Apr at 16.00
Tue 9 Apr at 18.30
Sonore, Music Centre

Mon 15 Apr at 18.30
Sibelius Hall, Järvenpää Hall, Hallintokatu 4, Järvenpää