Armida

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For the American actress, see Armida (actress). For the minor planet, see 514 Armida.

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 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.

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.

Armida in opera[edit]

The story of Armida and Rinaldo has been the basis for several operas:

On May 1, 2010, Rossini's Armida was performed and broadcast live to theaters around the world in the series MetLive in HD.[1]

Johannes Brahms composed a cantata entitled Rinaldo based on the story.

Armida as a ballet[edit]

Iconography[edit]

References[edit]

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWood, James, ed. (1907). "article name needed". The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne.