Hall: Concert Hall
Price: 50-120 zł
Tonight’s concert featuring Haydn’s opera Armida, a piece very rarely performed in Poland, is a perfect occasion to remind ourselves how much European music from different epochs owes to... the Crusades. It was to a great extent thanks to these campaigns that many middle‑eastern instruments were brought to Europe; they provided themes for medieval songs glorifying chivalry, and for many centuries also served as inspiration for poets, playwrights, and writers, including librettists and composers. In these countless works on the Crusades, historic facts blended with fiction, legends, and fairy tales. Their authors eagerly referred to Rinaldo, the hero knight of Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered, but even more frequently they named their operas after another character from this epic poem, namely the beautiful but dangerous witch Armida, who seduced the Crusaders, but was also in love with Rinaldo (a dozen such operas were written on this theme, from Monteverdi’s missing work to Dvořák’s late piece).
As with most of Haydn’s operas, this one was also written for his patron, a true music aficionado, Nikolaus I, Prince Esterházy and his court theatre. After its premiere in 1784, the work became enormously popular, and for the next four years was staged over fifty times! It was also performed outside of Esterháza (in Vienna, Budapest, Turin, and other cities) and the composer himself regarded it as one of his greatest achievements. Forgotten for almost two centuries, it is now performed only occasionally, but still enchants the listener with its rococo charm and beauty, a result very much of Gluck’s influence.