Armida is one of the famous 'opere serie' that Rossini composed for Naples. Just like Otello it is an opera 'for tenors', but the most inventive and breathtaking bel canto songs have been composed for the one and only: Armida.
The librettist took his inspiration from Gerusalemme liberata by Torquato Tasso, an Italian literary masterpiece from the 16th century that has served as inspiration for countless opera composers. It takes place against the backdrop of the first Crusade in which Godfrey of Bouillon liberated Jerusalem.
The opera tells the story of the extraordinarily beautiful sorceress and princess of Damascus, Armida, who wreaks erotic havoc in the camp of the Christian knights. At work here is a mature and unseen Rossini. He combines the martial air of the battle-ready knights with the incomparable bel canto songs by the mysterious Armida. An Armida who, at the end of the opera, in the midst of her vocal pyrotechnics, is consumed by her own daemonic sensuality. An opera in which heroism and languid sensuality alternate.