The famous knight Ruggiero has been abducted by a sorceress. His fiancee, Bradamante, is determined to rescue him. Borrowing some of her brother’s clothes, she disguises herself as a soldier and convinces her guardian. Melisso, to sail to the enchanted island where this sorceress lives. But Alcina’s power is incredibly strong. Ruggiero does not remember his former life, and he does not recognise Bradamante. It is only through the use of a magic ring that Ruggiero is able to see Alcina’s island for what it really is: a desolate wasteland. Everything he has grown to love and know as home has been a lie.
Being reunited with Bradamante strengthens Ruggiero and he is able to defeat Alcina, and her hordes of monsters on the island. He destroys the urn that contains all of her power and the wild beasts and rocks transform back into men; all of Alcina’s former lovers that have been trapped on the island. Wickedness is defeated and true love triumphs.
With some of Handel’s most well-known melodies, and a plot full of heroism, love, and witchcraft, Alcina remains as popular with audiences today as it was at its first performance in 1735.