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Music Director

Sir Antonio Pappano

Director of Opera

Oliver Mears

A co-production with The Metropolitan Opera, New York

Generous philanthropic support from Julia and Hans Rausing, The Estate of Mrs Gertrude Mary Looi, Charles Holloway and The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund

High jewellery for set design photography supported by Van Cleef & Arpels

Performance materials for Alcina edited by Siegfried Flesch, published by Bärenreiter-Verlag, Kassel, performed by arrangement with Faber Music Ltd, London

Libretto Antonio Marchi after Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso



10.11.2022 18:30

The 38th performance by The Royal Opera at the Royal Opera House.


This performance lasts approximately 3 hours and 50 minutes, including two intervals.
Act I
55 minutes
25 minutes
Act II
75 minutes
25 minutes
50 minutes


Suitable for all


George Frideric Handel
Antonio Marchi
Richard Jones
Antony McDonald
Lighting Designer
Lucy Carter
Movement Director
Sarah Fahie


Conducted by
Christian Curnyn
Lisette Oropesa
Emily D'Angelo
Mary Bevan
Varduhi Abrahamyan
Rupert Charlesworth
José Coca Loza
Rafael Flutter
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Concert Master
Sergey Levitin

The role of Oberto is a shared role, performed by Malakai M Bayoh (8 | 14 | 22 Nov) and Rafael Flutter (10 | 18 | 26 Nov).

Dancers Ashley Bain, Lauren Bridle, Jordan Cork, Sebastien Kapps, Bridget Lappin, Michael Larcombe, Gareth Mole, Ryan Munroe, Luke Murphy, Anthony Pereira, Jay Yule

Continuo Ensemble

Cello Hetty Snell
Theorbo Sergio Bucheli, Eligio Luis Quinteiro
Harpsichord Andrew Griffiths, Bernard Robertson


Alcina, an enchantress, has lured many lovers to her island. When she tires of them, she transforms them into animals. Ruggiero is her latest lover – and his wife, Bradamante, has vowed to rescue him. 


Bradamante has disguised herself as her brother, Ricciardo, and travelled to Alcina’s island with Atlante, who is disguised as ‘Melisso’, a sailor. They are greeted by Morgana, Alcina’s sister, who is immediately attracted to ‘Ricciardo’. Alcina tells the visitors they may stay on the island, and expresses her love for Ruggiero. They meet Oberto, a boy. Oberto is searching for his father Astolfo (Bradamante’s cousin). Bradamante and ‘Melisso’ suspect the boy’s father has been turned into a wild animal by Alcina. 

When Bradamante and ‘Melisso’ question Ruggiero about his former life, Ruggiero – who has only a dim memory of Bradamante – scorns them. Morgana and her jealous lover, Oronte, argue fiercely; Bradamante recognizes her own feelings of resentment and pain in their dispute. Fuelled by his jealousy, Oronte tells Ruggiero that Alcina loves ‘Ricciardo’, hoping Ruggiero will rid him of his perceived rival. 

Enraged by Oronte’s malicious charge, Ruggiero lashes out at Alcina, who is hurt by his accusation. Alcina assures Ruggiero of her love, but he is tormented by doubt. ‘Melisso’ barely prevents the unhappy Bradamante from revealing her true identity to Ruggiero. Ruggiero, who is now deeply uncertain of Alcina’s love, decides that ‘Ricciardo’ is half-mad with desire for Alcina, and insists that he, Ruggiero, and Alcina are passionate lovers with eyes only for each other. Oronte’s plan has worked: Alcina intends to prove her love for Ruggiero by turning ‘Ricciardo’ into a beast. Morgana warns Bradamante to escape and rejoices in her love for ‘Ricciardo’. 



‘Melisso’ reveals himself as Atlante. This jogs Ruggiero’s memory, and makes him realise the extent of Bradamante’s suffering. Ruggiero’s love for Bradamante is reawakened, and he longs to leave the island and see her again. However, during his reunion with his wife, Ruggiero is suddenly seized with doubts: he suspects that Bradamante is Alcina in disguise and rejects her. Bradamante is infuriated. 

Alone, Ruggiero is torn between Alcina’s enchantments and his newly-remembered love for Bradamante. Alcina prepares to transform ‘Ricciardo’ into a beast but is interrupted by Morgana and Ruggiero, who insists there is no need for her to prove her love in this way. Alcina withdraws her spell. With Alcina’s permission, Ruggiero leaves to go hunting, ambiguously declaring his devotion to his lover. 

To Alcina’s dismay, Oronte informs her that Ruggiero has left her. Morgana refuses to believe Oronte when he informs her that ‘Ricciardo’ is leaving too – and she rejects him again. Morgana witnesses the happy reunion of Ruggiero and ‘Ricciardo’. As Ruggiero bids farewell to the island, Alcina tries to prevent him from leaving with a spell, but her powers have abandoned her. 



Morgana begs for Oronte’s forgiveness, but Oronte is conflicted. Ruggiero meets Alcina and explains why he must leave. Ruggiero defeats Alcina’s forces in battle. As Alcina’s powers wane, Oberto denounces her. Bradamante vows to remain on the island until all Alcina’s victims have been restored to freedom. 

All approach the urn that protects her magical powers. With Bradamante, Atlante, Oronte and the animals beside him, Ruggiero smashes the urn. The island’s enchanted creatures – including Oberto’s father Astolfo – are restored. They celebrate their return to human form, and ponder the loss of the animal ways that they have experienced. 


Music preparation
Richard Hetherington, Andrew Griffiths, Mark Packwood, Edmund Whitehead, Erika Gundesen, Bernard Robertson, André Callegaro
Assistant Directors
Daniel Dooner, Mathilda du Tillieul Mcnicol
Language Coach
Emma Abbate
Assistant Costume Designer
Alexander Gunnarsson
Assistant Set Designer
Ricardo Pardo

André Callegaro and Mathilda du Tillieul McNicol are Jette Parker Artists



The former Prince of Wales

Music Director

Sir Antonio Pappano

Director of Opera

Oliver Mears

Director of Casting

Peter Mario Katona

Administrative Director

Cormac Simms


We are working to make the Royal Opera House more sustainable. To do this, some of the ways in which we share information have changed, including cast sheets.

You can view the digital cast sheets on a computer, tablet or smartphone. You can also download and print the digital cast sheet. Check the digital cast sheet for the most up-to-date information before the performance starts, during the interval, or after the performance day.

Scan the QR codes displayed around the building with a smartphone to view the latest digital cast sheets. The cast sheets are also displayed on screens outside the auditoria.

Cast sheets generously supported by the Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.


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We are so glad to welcome our artists back to our theatres to perform for you the opera and ballet you love. During the pandemic we lost £3 in every £5 of our income and we continue to feel the impact as we recover. Sustaining the future of ballet and opera has never been so important. Please consider making a donation to the Royal Opera House community today and help support the future of ballet and opera.