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Gioacchino Antonio Rossini


Rossini - Armida
Aix-en-Provence 1988 -
Gianfranco Masini -
June Anderson (Armida) -
Rockwell Blake (Rinaldo) -  
Yoshihisa Yamaji (Goffredo, Ubaldo) -
Giorgio Surjan (Idraote, Astarotte) - Raul Gimenez (Gernando, Carlo) -
Christer Bladin (Eustazio)

Jerusalem Delivered (Italian: La Gerusalemme liberata [la dʒeruzaˈlɛmme libeˈraːta]) is an epic poem by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso, first published in 1581, that tells a largely mythified version of the First Crusade in which Christian knights, led by Godfrey of Bouillon, battle Muslims in order to take Jerusalem. 

The work belongs to the Italian Renaissance tradition of the romantic epic poem, and Tasso frequently borrows plot elements and character types directly from Ariosto's Orlando furioso. Tasso's poem also has elements inspired by the classical epics of Homer and Virgil (especially in those sections of their works that tell of sieges and warfare). One of the most characteristic literary devices in Tasso's poem is the emotional conundrum endured by characters torn between their heart and their duty; the depiction of love at odds with martial valour or honor is a central source of lyrical passion in the poem.

Tasso's choice of subject matter, an actual historic conflict between Christians and Muslims (albeit with fantastical elements added), had a historical grounding and created compositional implications (the narrative subject matter had a fixed endpoint and could not be endlessly spun out in multiple volumes) that are lacking in other Renaissance epics. Like other works of the period that portray conflicts between Christians and Muslims, this subject matter had a topical resonance to readers of the period when the Ottoman Empire was advancing through Eastern Europe.

The poem was hugely successful, and sections or moments from the story were used in works in other media all over Europe, especially in the period before the French Revolution and the Romantic movement, which provided alternative stories combining love, violence, and an exotic setting.



Armida is an opera in three acts by Gioachino Rossini
to an Italian libretto by Giovanni Schmidt,
based on scenes from Gerusalemme liberata by Torquato Tasso.


Armida, Princess of Damascus, a sorceress
Rinaldo, a paladin knight
Gernando, a paladin
Ubaldo, a paladin
Carlo, a paladin
Goffredo, (Godfrey of Bouillon), the leader of the paladins 
Eustazio, his brother
Idraote, king of Damascus and Armida's uncle
Astarotte, leader of Armida's spirits
Paladins, warriors, demons, spirits

Time: The Crusades
Place: Near Jerusalem
First performance at Rome, January 25, 1817


Story of Armida and Rinaldo

The story of Armida, a Saracen sorceress and Rinaldo, a soldier in the First Crusade, was created by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso.

In his epic Gerusalemme liberata, Rinaldo is a fierce and determined warrior who is also honorable and handsome. Armida has been sent to stop the Christians from completing their mission and is about to murder the sleeping soldier, but instead she falls in love. She creates an enchanted garden where she holds him a lovesick prisoner. Eventually Charles and Ubaldo, two of his fellow Crusaders, find him and hold a shield to his face, so he can see his image and remember who he is. Rinaldo barely can resist Armida’s pleadings, but his comrades insist that he return to his Christian duties. At the close of the poem, when the pagans have lost the final battle, Rinaldo, remembering his promise to be her champion still, prevents her from giving way to her suicidal impulses and offers to restore her to her lost throne. She gives in at this, and like the other Saracen warrior woman, Clorinda, earlier in the piece, becomes a Christian and his “handmaid”.

Many painters and composers were inspired by Tasso's tale. The works that resulted often added or subtracted an element; Tasso himself continued to edit the story for years. In some versions, Armida is converted to Christianity, in others, she rages and destroys her own enchanted garden. She occupies a place in the literature of abandoned women such as the tragic Dido, who committed suicide, and the evil Circe, whom Odysseus abandoned to complete his voyage, but she is considered by many to be more human, and thus more compelling and sympathetic, than either of them.

Nicolas Poussin, Armida discovers the sleeping Rinaldo, 1629.

Renaud de Montauban, (also spelled Renaut, Renault, Italian: Rinaldo di Montalbano, Dutch: Reinout van Montalba(e)n) was a fictional hero and knight who was introduced to literature in a 12th-century Old French chanson de geste known as Les Quatre Fils Aymon ("The Four Sons of Aymon") (frequently referred to simply as [the tale of] Renaud de Montauban). The four sons of Duke Aymon are Renaud, Richard, Alard, and Guiscard, and their cousin is the magician Maugris (French: Maugis, Italian: Malagi, Malagigi). Renaud possess a magical horse Bayard and the sword Froberge (Italian: Fusberta, Frusberta).

The story of Renaud had a European success. The tale was adapted into Dutch, German, Italian and English versions throughout the Middle Ages, inspired the Old Icelandic Mágus saga jarls, and also incited subsequent sequels and related texts that form part of the Doon de Mayence cycle of chansons. Renaud, as Rinaldo, is an important character in Italian Renaissance epics, including Morgante by Luigi Pulci, Orlando Innamorato by Matteo Maria Boiardo and Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto.

Renaud de Montauban should not be confused with Rinaldo, the son of Bertoldo and reputed founder of the House of Este in Torquato Tasso's epic poem Jerusalem Delivered (1580), though this second character is made out to be a descendant of the original paladin's sister Bradamante. The second Rinaldo is the son of Bertoldo and Sophia and he lived during the time of the First Crusade. According to legend, Bertoldo is the son of Azzo II, a real person who was Count of Este (Orlando Furioso III: 29-30). One of Azzo II's sons was Welf IV, (Welf I, Duke of Bavaria). Jerusalem Delivered states that Bertoldo is related to Welf IV. (Jerusalem Delivered XVII: 81).


The picture illustrates an episode from Tasso's heroic crusader poem "Jerusalem Delivered" (1580), in which the Christian knights Carlo and Ubaldo confront a dragon in their attempt to rescue Rinaldo from a pagan sorceress

Godfrey of Bouillon (French: Godefroy de Bouillon, Dutch: Godfried van Bouillon, German: Gottfried von Bouillon, Latin: Godefridus Bullionensis; 18 September 1060 – 18 July 1100) was a Frankish knight and one of the leaders of the First Crusade from 1096 until its conclusion in 1099. He was the Lord of Bouillon, from which he took his byname, from 1076 and the Duke of Lower Lorraine from 1087. After the successful siege of Jerusalem in 1099, Godfrey became the first ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He refused the title of King, however, as he believed that the true King of Jerusalem was Christ, preferring the title of Advocate (i.e., protector or defender) of the Holy Sepulchre (Latin: Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri). He is also known as the "Baron of the Holy Sepulchre" and the "Crusader King".

Antonio Bellucci - Rinaldo and Armida

Rossini - Armida



Firenze - Teatro Comunale
Maggio Musicale Fiorentino 1952


Rinaldo and Armida meet in the enchanted forest by Giacinto Gimignani​


Goffredo, commander of the Christian forces, comforts and rallies the Frankish soldiers, who are mourning the recent death of their leader. A noblewoman appears and introduces herself as the rightful ruler of Damascus. She claims that her throne has been usurped by her evil uncle Idraote and asks for help and protection. In fact she is the sorceress Armida and in league with Idraote, who has entered with her in disguise. Their plan is to weaken the Crusaders by enslaving some of their best soldiers. The men are so dazzled by Armida's beauty that they convince Goffredo to help her. Goffredo decides that the Franks must choose a new leader, who will then pick ten soldiers to go with Armida. They elect Rinaldo, much to the jealousy of the knight Gernando ("Non soffrirò l'offesa"). Armida and Rinaldo, who is the Crusaders’ best soldier, had met once before, and she is secretly in love with him. She now confronts him and reminds him how she saved his life on that occasion. When she accuses him of ingratitude, he admits that he's in love with her (Duet: "Amor… possente nome!"). Gernando sees them together and insults Rinaldo as a womanizer in front of the other men. They duel and Rinaldo kills Gernando. Horrified by what he has done, he escapes with Armida before Goffredo can punish him.


Rinaldo and Armida in her garden, by François Boucher​


Astarotte, one of the princes of Hell, has led a group of demons into a forest to help Armida. She arrives there with Rinaldo, who's completely enthralled by her (Duet: "Dove son io!"). Even when she tells him about Idraote's plot, he doesn’t turn against her. To Rinaldo's amazement, Armida then turns the forest into a vast pleasure palace. Armida muses on the power of love ("D’Amore al dolce impero") and offers for Rinaldo's entertainment a pantomime about a warrior being seduced by nymphs. Rinaldo, having lost all thoughts of military honor, gives himself over to Armida's enchantment.

Willem van Mieris, Rinaldo and Armida, 1709


Two of Rinaldo's fellow knights, Ubaldo and Carlo, have been sent on a mission to save him. When they arrive in Armida's enchanted gardens, they are overwhelmed by the beauty of them, even though they know it's all an illusion. With the help of a magical golden staff, they ward off the nymphs that try to seduce them, then hide when Rinaldo and Armida appear. Rinaldo is still captivated by the sorceress, but once he is alone, Ubaldo and Carlo confront him. When they show him his reflection in a shield, he's horrified to realize that he no longer recognizes himself as the honorable warrior he once was (Trio: "In quale aspetto imbelle"). Still torn by his love for Armida, Rinaldo prays for strength, then leaves with his comrades. Armida calls upon the powers of Hell to bring her lover back but finds herself helpless. She rushes off in pursuit of the men.

Armida reaches the three soldiers before they can sail away. She begs Rinaldo not to desert her and even offers to go into battle with him. Ubaldo and Carlo restrain Rinaldo, trying to bolster his strength, and ultimately drag him away from her. Armida struggles between love and desire for revenge ("Dove son io?… Fuggì!"). She chooses revenge, destroying the pleasure palace and flying away in a rage.


Armida by Jacques Blanchard, Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes

Rossini - Armida ( part 1 of 7 )
Performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam , the Netherlands  
The Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra
Broadcasted on Dutch Television in 1988

Conductor : Claudio Scimone


Goffredo - Juan Luque Carmona

Eustazio - Geraint Roberts

Armida - Nelly Miricioiu

Idraote - Wout Oostkamp

Gernando - Raul Gimenez

Rinaldo - Bruce Ford

Rossini - Armida ( part 2 of 7 )

Rossini - Armida ( part 3 of 7 )

Rossini - Armida ( part 4 of 7 )

Rossini - Armida ( part 5 of 7 )

Rossini - Armida ( part 6 of 7 )

Rossini - Armida ( part 7 of 7 )

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