Handel must have been in a bad mood the day he wrote Rinaldo. The operas demanding and difficult score includes the tour-de-force aria Cara Sposa, what singer David Daniels once called the countertenors national anthem because it is so strenuous. And thats just the first act! While Rinaldos singers are wrestling with the score, the title character, a Christian knight, is battling the evil King of Jerusalem. The King enlists a sorceress to help him, who promptly kidnaps Rinaldos fiancée (hey, theres nothing very magical about that!). Rinaldo races to rescue his beloved, encountering furies, sirens and finally, the sorceress herself. We know who will win the war on the battlefield, but who will win it on stage is a different matter. Will the soprano hit those high notes? Will the tenor crack? And why the hell did Handel make Rinaldo so difficult? Houston Grand Opera concert master Richard Bado conducts the Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra. 7:30 p.m. today; 7:30 p.m. November 9 and 12; and 2 p.m. November 11. Wortham Opera Theater at Alice Brown Pratt Hall, Rice University, 6100 Main Street. For information, call 713-348-8000 or visit www.music.rice.edu.
Wed., Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 11, 2 p.m.; Mon., Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m., 2007