George Frideric Handel – Rinaldo – Robert Carsen’s witty and irreverent production came roaring back to Glyndebourne this summer. Christian Knight Rinaldo loves almirena, but she has been kidnapped by the scheming sorceress Armida. A magical battle of wits and wills ensues between Rinaldo’s Crusaders and the Saracen army, as the fate not just of two lovers but two nations hangs in the balance. Carsen’s exuberant schoolroom staging brings out all the energy and excess in Handel’s first opera for the London stage. The composer’s colourful, tune-filled score – bright with brass fanfares and memorable arias including ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’ – is one of his finest, sweeping the audience from laughter to love and back again, in this exotic, East-meets-West musical fantasy. Fresh from her triumph in 2017’s La traviata, Kristina Mkhitaryan returns to Glyndebourne as Armida, with Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński playing the title role. Rising young baroque specialist Maxim Emelyanychev conducts.