With the opera Orlando, “the musically richest of all Handel operas” (Winton Dean) can be heard in a new production at the Halle Opera. This Zauberoper, or “magic opera”, the libretto of which is based on Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando furioso, is a masterpiece by the Halle-born composer, which brings Orlando’s “madness of love” to the stage with dramatic effect. The original performance was held on 27 January 1733, in the presence of the queen, in the King’s Theatre in London. It was with Handel’s setting of the story that the now traditional Handel Festival in Halle began back in 1922. The production was premiered on 28 May 1922 in German, with the title Orlandos Liebeswahn (“Orlando’s Madness of Love”). It was the first time this romantic opera about the knight who lost his sanity for love since its premiere in London in 1733. With Walter Sutcliffe’s stage production – the fourth here in the past 100 years – the Handel Festival’s centenary celebration will begin.