Prologue - At Sea
The story is introduced by Neptune, as he entertains his guest, Polish Prince Wladislas Sigismund (‘Non perche congiurati’). He summons the spirits of the river to praise (‘Biondo Dio del bel Permesso’). The sky and sea bend to the Prince’s honor (‘Poscia che’l Cielo e’l Mare’), and Neptune offers to tell him the story of how Ruggiero bravely escaped from the wicked Alcina.
Scene One - Melissa approaches Alcina’s island, riding on a dolphin
The enchantress Melissa has been to visit with Merlin, and has discovered Ruggiero’s destiny. He, and his betrothed Bradamante, will rule over the whole empire. She must free him from Alcina, who has him under her spell (‘Cosi perfida Alcina’). She intends to reveal the truth of Alcina’s deception to Ruggiero, and will do so by disguising herself as Atlas, Ruggiero’s teacher, so that he might trust her word.
Scene Two - On Alcina’s Island
Alcina’s island is beautiful and abundant, as are the gifts with which she adorns Ruggiero.
La liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina guide sections