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Orlando Libretto
English Translation

Act I

Accompagnato and Recitativo: Zoroastro
Eternal symbols, that shine in radiant light,
You are nothing but a mysterious beauty to mortal minds!

I can now see, written in the stars,
That Orlando, the great hero, will not rebel against his destiny forever.
Here he comes now – to work, my counsels!

Arioso: Orlando
Stirred by glory, yet agitated by love,
what will you choose, my miserable heart?

Aria: Zoroastro
Leave Venus, and follow Mars,
Go! To battle, fight for glory.

Love prepares only oblivion for you,
Only war will crown your name.

Accompagnato: Orlando
Depressing images, how you sadden me,
Shall I ever be able to defeat you?

Yes, I reject you all and hurry to raise new trophies of valour!
I give you, Glory, my full devotion.
But, can I say this, and not die within! How could I abandon the idol I adore?
No, I leave, and my glory shall be greater in love’s service,
and achieve victory!

Aria: Orlando
Hercules was not weakened
When he laid his arms on the soft breast of Omphale;

Nor was Achille’s rage less fiery,
When he threatened Asia’s kingdoms disguised as a woman.

Accompagnato: Dorinda
How delightful it is in these woods!
To watch the harmless play of goats and deer,
To see the snaking crystal streams,
The blooming flowers, and undulating plants,
The cooing of birds, and the breath of balmy breezes!
Oh, blessed days, now, for me, wretched!

Aria: Dorinda
I blush, to speak about what I feel
Whether it’s ice or fire... I don’t know.

It must be small though, my share of pleasure or sadness,
If my soul is able to conceal it all.

Arioso: Angelica and Medoro

Returning to his beautiful face, lily mixing with rose,
Came health, replacing the colour of violets.

And my heart began to glow, consumed by soft flames,
As flakes of falling snow are melted in the sun’s rays.

Aria: Medoro
If your heart ever tells you that I’d forget you,
Tell it that it lies to you.

Such cherished memories would never leave me,
and would only expire with my life.

Aria: Dorinda
Oh charming words, sweet glances!
Although you are lies, I would still believe you.

But what can I do,
When too late I have discovered the deception?

Aria: Angelica
If you want me to think you faithful,
Show me that fidelity.

As long as doubt reigns in my heart,
Love will never survive.

Recitativo: Orlando
I obey you, cruel one, and you will see,
that I only defended the princess, and did not love her.

Aria: Orlando
Go bid me fight monsters and beasts,
new trophies, if you want, of my love.

Battlements to overturn, spells to unbind,
If you want me to prove my love to you.

Terzetto: Medoro, Angelica and Dorinda

Medoro & Angelica:

Console yourself, dear, gentle shepherdess,
That your heart is worthy of love, and will find love.

No solace can I know, I don’t want to hope,
Love will no longer give me the object I desire, which is now lost to me.

Do not lose the hope which is one’s only joy.

Your constant heart was formed for love.

No, only in sadness will my soul now live.

Act II

Arioso: Dorinda

When you sing of your woes, amorous nightingale,
You seem to match your warbling to my sadness.

Aria: Dorinda
If I go to the fields,
I see my Medoro in every flower.

If I look at the forest or streams, in the waving branches,

I hear them say, ‘your loving Medoro is here’.

Recitativo: Orlando
So this is your gratitude, spiteful Angelica!
For my love, and my faithfulness?
You shall not escape me now,
To the banks of Acheron my vengeance and my sword will
pursue you!

Aria: Orlando
Heaven! Let steel enter my breast.

For such an evil unhappiness
Only the sword would allow release.

Aria: Zoroastro
Through dark spaces our lost souls wander,
If we have a blind god as a guide.

Into ruins, the fatal path following, and into peril,
If reason does not light our path.

Recitativo:Angelica and Medoro

To leave these loving shadows upsets me so!

Farewell fields, farewell springs, trees, farewell forever.

Aria: Medoro
Verdant trees, always united, preserve our names,
As our hearts are united.
And tell those who see, whose hand traced our names out
so well,
When they envy our love.

Aria: Angelica
He will not, he will not call me ungrateful,
because I was pierced by such a beautiful arrow.

When love first struck him,
he could not defend himself against its fatal bow.

Act II

Recitativo: Angelica

Everything has now been prepared by my beautiful lover.
Goodbye, I now leave you, beautiful scenery!

Aria: Angelica
Verdant trees, swaying grass,
Beautiful river, shady cave,
May the heavens bless you!

May your secret shadows never be disturbed
Nor their repose by cruel winds or dark storms.

Recitativo: Orlando and Angelica

Ah, faithless one, here you are!

Who will help me, oh gods!
Love, dear love, help me now
Gods, I implore you!

Ah Medoro, Medoro.

You call Medoro in vain.

Where shall I flee?

You will not escape, except for going to the underworld.

Accompagnato: Orlando
Ah Stygian monsters, villainous spectres,
That now hide that faithless woman,
Why do you not give her up to my wronged love and my
just fury?
Ah, miserable, and forsaken, that ingrate has killed me!
I am now a spirit divided from myself,
I am a shadow and this shadow now will sink
itself into the gloomy realms of woe!
There is the Stygian boat, in spite of Caronte,
I ride the waves, the black waves.

Here the smoking throne of Pluto,
And the head of the god!

Now Cerberus howls,
And hideous furies scowl at me from every corner of the dead!

But the fury that torments me singly, where is he?
That is Medoro!
In Proserpina’s arms he sits, I wrest him from her...

Ah Proserpina weeps?
My fury lessens, since even in Hell, love sheds tears.

Lovely eyes, do not weep,

A sight so moving will make my rage abate.

But yes, weep, for I am deaf to your weeping
and will not calm my fury.



Aria: Medoro

I would like to be able to love you, my heart would like to
say to you,
But you know that it doesn’t belong to me anymore.
And if I gave you my heart, an untrue one,
it would only bring you sadness.

Recitativo: Dorinda
If a lover is successful, fear still plagues her,
but if the lover sees himself rejected he feels the horrors of
infernal pangs.

The sea of love is strewn with dangerous rock,
and I see that love is a tremendous anguish.

Aria: Dorinda
Love is like a gust of wind that spins the head,
I’ve heard it starts well and is pleasing,
But after a short while, there is a long sadness.

If two hearts are united, and believe themselves blessed,
jealousy and fear soon get the better of them;
if a heart is betrayed, it becomes deranged. That’s what love
can do.

Accompagnato and Recitativo: Zoroastro
We see from Orlando that reason is frequently destroyed
by love.

You heavenly beings, the wellspring of my power,
now unite with me.
Change this forest into a cave!

Be attentive to the approaching fury of Orlando;
And soon we will have victory, restoring the hero to glory.

Aria: Zoroastro
Rough tempests arise which obscure heaven and seas.
A brighter star does then impart its rays
and gladdens every heart.

The strong may often err, but when they see their error,
What was once a source of woe, then turns to joy.

Duet: Angelica and Orlando


Until you cause my blood to flow,
Enjoy my tears of grief.

My fury thirsts for blood alone.

To this spirit that languishes, these tears are blood.

But they do not appease my righteous anger.

Come! Down into the deep chasm of perdition!

Gods, have pity!

Accompagnato: Orlando
Now by Orlando’s hand the world is ridden of its worst

Night descends from the gloomy caves,
With it comes Morpheus, whose poppies anoint my head,
And makes me taste the streams of oblivion.

Arioso: Orlando
Drugged by this sweet liquid, sleep comes upon me.
You, faithless love, spinning and mocking, will no longer
disturb me.

Recitativo and Accompagnato: Zoroastro
Now is the time
Love, you shall see that Orlando will shun your deceptions.

You, who sustain the great heavens,
I instruct you: from the celestial spheres, fly swiftly to me,
bringing the precious liquid which shall restore Orlando’s
ravaged heart.


Arioso: Orlando
To give you, dear one, some vengeance for your death,
Orlando himself shall die.



Please, do not die!

What do I see? Angelica, you live?

And so does the one who offended you...

Sir, grant me death, for I could not live without her.

Orlando, I, watchful over your future glory,
from your fury and impending death,
have saved Angelica and Medoro,
and for both of them I plead for your grace.

Sir, I also implore you, even though I lose (I am forgiving!)
my Medoro.

No more everyone, listen to what shall be Orlando’s
greatest glory.

He broke spells, won battles, and slew monsters:
He is now victorious over himself!
Angelica and Medoro be joined together!

Now we celebrate your matchless praise!

And the dawn which now breaks shall be a prelude to a
brighter day of love.

My heart triumphs over every woe,
and constancy and peace await us both.

I forget every sorrow, everything that pained me:
I invite you all back to my cottage to celebrate!

With heightened passion, everyone is now rewarded,
And equal praise given to the merits of love and valour.