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A new production of Haydn’s opera Orlando Paladino at the Drottningholms Slottsteater

Pressmeddelande   •   Jun 30, 2012 08:00 CEST

DROTTNINGHOLM, SWEDEN, June 30, 2012 — Haydn's opera Orlando Paladino, which will open at the Drottningholm Slottsteater on July 29, is based on the medieval legend of the knight Roland (Orlando), who is madly in love with Angelica, Queen of Cathay. The performance stars Rickard Söderberg, Kirsten Blaise and Pietro Spagnoli, all of whom are internationally known for their interpretation of 18th century opera. 

The Swedish tenor Rickard Söderberg sings the title role of Orlando, the Frankish crusader. Angelica, Queen of Cathay, is portrayed by the American soprano Kirsten Blaise, and Rodomonte, King of Barbary, is performed by the Italian lyric baritone Pietro Spagnoli,. 

This new production is directed by Sigrid T'Hooft, the internationally recognized authority on 18th century staging and theatrical gesture, who was also responsible for last year’s new production, Mozart’s Così fan tutte. She is once again working alongside Stephan Dietrich an expert in historical theatre costumes. T'Hooft has prepared a version of Orlando Paladino that takes full account of the wonderfully detailed archive material preserved from Haydn’s original production at Esterháza in 1782 

T'Hooft and Dietrich are advocates of the concept of Historically Informed Performance-practice (HIP). Contrary to the popular misconception, this does not imply the exact reconstruction of an 18th century performance. It means drawing inspiration for 21st century performances from a detailed knowledge of historical practices. The result is both faithful to the original and grounded in today’s theatrical reality. In the words of Drottningholm’s Artistic Director, Mark Tatlow, himself well known as an interpreter of the Classical repertoire, this is a “double authenticity”: an approach that also characterises the Drottningholm Theatre Orchestra, a group of leading early music specialists. 

Press preview July 23
There will be a press preview on Monday July 23 at 2pm, when extracts from the opera will be presented. At the same time it will also be possible to meet the singers and the artistic team. Register for the press preview by sending an e-mail to 

Press Tickets
Tickets for reviewers (either for the premiere, or for a later performance)  can be booked by sending an e-mail to 

For more information
For interviews, press visits to the theatre, press photos and other information, please contact Carin Balfe Arbman on +46 (0)70-633 35 08 or e-mail 

Dates of performances
Orlando Paladino will premiere on July 29 and further performances will be given on August 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, and 12th.  Pre-performance talks will be held one hour before the performances on August 1st, 7th and 11th.  


Rickard Söderberg is one of Sweden's most well known singers. He is a renowned interpreter of 18th century music, and appears in opera houses and opera festivals worldwide. In the summer of 2007 he performed the title role in Monteverdi's L'Orfeo at the Drottningholm Court Theatre, and he has also appeared in several other productions at the theatre in recent years. He has published a number of critically acclaimed CD albums and in 2011 sang Loge in Värmlandsoperan's production of Wagner's Ring.

Kirsten Blaise is an internationally acclaimed interpreter of 18th century opera. She made her debut in 1996 in Indiana, but is now based in Europe, and lives in Germany. In 2011, Kirsten Blaise toured Europe, USA and South America with actor John Malkovich in the highly successful musical theatre production “The Infernal Comedy”. This year Blaise and Malkovich will collaborate again in the show The Giacomo Variations, based on Casanova's life and the operas of Mozart and da Ponte.

Pietro Spagnoli started his singing career as an eight-year old choirboy in the Sistine chapel of St. Peter's in Rome. His debut on the opera stage took place a few years later, in Bellini's opera "Il Pirata" at the Opera Festival of the Valle d'Itia. Over the years, Spagnoli has appeared at opera festivals and opera houses around the world and he has worked with many well known directors. Last spring, he participated in Così fan tutte at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich in the role of Don Alfonso.


Orlando Paladino (1782) is a Dramma eroicomico in three acts by Haydn (1732-1809). The  libretto is by Nunziato Porta. The opera is sung in Italian and surtitled in Swedish. Conductor: Mark Tatlow. Director: Sigrid T'Hooft. Costume designer: Stephan Dietrich. The Drottningholm Theatre Orchestra (leader, Maria Lindal), on period instruments.

Cast: Orlando (Roland), Frankish crusader • Rickard Söderberg; Angelica, Queen of Cathay, in love with Medoro • Kirsten Blaise; Rodomonte, King of Barbary • Pietro Spagnoli; Medoro, Saracen warrior, in love with Angelica • Magnus Staveland; Eurilla, shepherdess • Ditte H Andersen; Licone, shepherd, father of Eurilla / Charon, ferryman of the Underworld • Lars Johansson Brissman; Pasquale, Orlando’s squire, in love with Eurilla • Daniel Ralphsson; Alcina, enchantress • Tuva Semmingsen.


Drottningholm Court Theatre was built in 1766 at the request of Queen Lovisa Ulrika. The wooden stage machinery is operated by hand. About 30 stage sets have been preserved, all decorated with themes from 18th century repertoire. The first golden age of the theatre was initiated by King Gustaf III in 1777. Together with actors like Monvel, the composers Naumann and Kraus, the ballet master Gallodier and the architect Desprez Gustaf used Drottningholm to inject new life into Swedish theatre and opera. After the king's death in 1792,  the theatre was closed. Today the yearly summer Opera Festival offers new productions of 17th and 18th century operas and attracts audiences from all over the world. In 1991 the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO designated the theatre as being of international cultural heritage significance.

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