When her fiancé, Ruggiero, was abducted by a sorceress, Bradamante took it upon herself to rescue him. She has disguised herself as her brother ‘Ricciardo’ and, along with her guardian Melisso, has travelled to the enchanted island where the sorceress Alcina lives. At the foot of the mountains they are trying to work out which way to go, when they are approached by a woman (‘Oh Dei! Quivi non scorgo’). The woman (Morgana) queries how two valiant warriors have arrived here, and they tell her that they were driven to the island by a storm, and ask who the island belongs to.
When Morgana tells them that the island belongs to the powerful Alcina, Bradamante asks if they might pay their respects to the queen. Unaware of Bradamante’s identity, Morgana is quite taken with the young knight she sees before her, and tells ‘him’ to wait here for Alcina, expressing that his beautiful eyes are awakening a love deep within her (‘O s’apre al riso’).
As Morgana leaves, Alcina’s palace
Alcina guide sections