Giulio Cesare in Egitto known as Giulio Cesare, is a dramma per musica in three acts composed for the Royal Academy of Music by George Frideric Handel in 1724. The libretto was written by Nicola Francesco Haym who used an earlier libretto by Giacomo Francesco Bussani, set to music by Antonio Sartorio; the opera was a success at its first performances, was revived by Handel in his subsequent opera seasons and is now one of the most performed Baroque operas. The opera's plot is loosely based on historic events during the Roman Civil War of 49–45 BC. Giulio Cesare in Egitto was first performed at the King's Theatre in the Haymarket, London on 20 February 1724; the opera was an immediate success. A contemporary wrote in a letter on 10 March 1724:...the opera is in full swing since Hendell's new one, called Jules César – in which Cenesino and Cozzuna shine beyond all criticism – has been put on. The house was just as full at the seventh performance as at the first. Handel revived the opera three times during his lifetime: in 1725, 1730, 1732.
The roles of Cesare and Cleopatra were sung by the castrato Senesino and the famous soprano Francesca Cuzzoni respectively. Handel composed eight arias and two recitatives accompagnati for each singer, thus making full use of their vocal capabilities. Curio and Nireno were not allotted any arias in the original version, only singing in recitatives, although they take part in the first and final choruses. However, Handel composed an aria for Nireno for a revival in 1730. Although a caricature, the contemporary engraving of Senesino on the left, Francesca Cuzzoni and castrato Gaetano Berenstadt on the right, provides valuable information about the visual aspect of the original performances of Handel operas; the illustration is of a scene from Handel's Flavio, presented by the Royal Academy of Music in 1723, although it has sometimes been identified as a scene from Giulio Cesare. The elongated bodies of the castrati tower over Cuzzoni, described by Horace Walpole as "short and squat"; the set is architectural and generic, not a specific locale, the costumes for the men are generic, with some inspiration from ancient Roman military attire.
Such costumes were worn by the leading men in Handel operas whether the setting was ancient Rome or Gothic Europe. Cuzzoni, in contrast, wears a contemporary gown such as might have been suitable for presentation at court, with a dwarf to serve as her train-bearer. For the first performances in 1724 Giulio Cesare was scored for 4 horns, 2 oboes, 2 alto recorders, 2 bassoons, transverse flute, first and third violins, cello, viola da gamba, harp and basso continuo Place: Egypt Time: 48–47 B. C; as with most of his other operas, Handel made several revisions to the score of Giulio Cesare for revivals, adding new arias and cutting others. The listing of arias in this synopsis applies to the original 1724 version. Cesare, in pursuit of his enemy Pompeo, has followed him to Egypt. Pompeo's wife Cornelia pleads with Cesare to spare her husband, he is about to grant her plea, when the Egyptians led by their boy king Tolomeo bring him the head of Pompeo. Cornelia and Pompeo's son Sesto vow. Tolomeo's sister Cleopatra desires to depose her brother.
She entreats Cesare to aid her. Following her overtures, Cesare falls in love with Cleopatra, her brother attempts to assassinate Cesare. It is reported to Cleopatra, she is taken captive by her brother. Caesar, who has escaped drowning, enters to free his beloved. Tolomeo is slain by Sesto. Cesare makes returns to Rome. After the overture, the entire cast, except Giulio Cesare, gathers on stage for the opening chorus.. Giulio Cesare and his victorious troops arrive on the banks of the River Nile after defeating Pompeo's forces.. Pompeo's second wife, begs for mercy for her husband's life. Cesare on the condition that Pompeo must see him in person. Achilla, the leader of the Egyptian army, presents Cesare with a casket containing Pompeo's head, it is a token of support from the co-ruler of Egypt. Cornelia faints, Cesare is furious about Tolomeo's cruelty.. Cesare's assistant, offers to avenge Cornelia, hoping that she will fall for him and marry him. Cornelia rejects the offer in grief, saying that another death would not relieve her pain..
Sesto, son of Cornelia and Pompeo, swears to take revenge for his father's death.. Cleopatra decides to use her charm to seduce Cesare. Achilla brings the news to Tolomeo. Tolomeo swears to kill Cesare to protect his rule of the kingdom.. Cleopatra goes to meet Cesare in his camp hoping. Cesare is amazed by her beauty.. Nireno notes that the seduction was successful.. Meanwhile, Cornelia continues to mourn the loss of her husband.. Cornelia prepares to kill Tolomeo to avenge Pompeo's death, but is stopped by Sesto, who promises to do it
Siroe, re di Persia, is an opera seria in three acts by George Frideric Handel. It was his 12th opera for the Royal Academy of Music and was written for the sopranos Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni; the opera uses an Italian-language libretto after Metastasio's Siroe. Like many of Metastasio's libretti, it was set by Handel's contemporaries, e.g. by Leonardo Vinci, Antonio Vivaldi and Johann Adolph Hasse. Pasquale Errichelli's setting of the libretto premiered in the year of Handel's death; the story of the opera is a fictionalisation of some events in the life of Kavadh II, King of the Sasanian Empire in 628 AD. The opera was first given under the direction of the composer at the King's Theatre in London on 17 February 1728 and it was seen in Braunschweig, Germany, it was rediscovered and performed in Gera, Germany, in December 1925. As with all Baroque opera seria, Siroe went unperformed for many years, but with the revival of interest in Baroque music and informed musical performance since the 1960s,Siroe, like all Handel operas, receives performances at festivals and opera houses today.
Among other performances, Siroe received staged productions at the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista in Venice in association with La Fenice opera house in 2001 and at the Göttingen International Handel Festival in 2013. Scene: Persia, about 628 AD. Before the action begins, King Cosroe has had father of Emira, assassinated. Emira has disguised herself as a man, "Idaspe", has come to King Cosroe's court, thirsting for revenge for her father's death. There she has fallen in love with the heir to the throne, he, aware of her true identity, with her also. Cosroe's younger son Prince Medarse wants to get rid of both his father and his older brother so that he can have the throne himself. Laodice, the king's mistress, has fallen in love with crown prince Siroe. Siroe, the upright crown prince of Persia, is aware of the machinations surrounding him and rejects both Emira's plots for revenge for her father's death and Laodice's desire for his love. Siroe discovers that the two ladies and his brother Medarse are conspiring to kill Cosroe and warns the King in an anonymous letter that there are plots against his life, without however naming the conspirators.
Siroe is identified as the author of the letter, but still refuses to name the conspirators. The jealous Laodice accuses Siroe of making unwanted sexual advances to her and the King announces that the succession to the throne will pass over Siroe and go to the younger Medarse instead, which makes both ladies feel guilty although Medarse rejoices. Siroe bewails his fate. Accused of treachery by his father badgered by the unwanted attentions of Laodice and continually pressed to revenge her father's death by his sweetheart Emira, Siroe draws his sword to commit suicide in front of the disguised Emira, but the King entering at this moment believes Siroe is attempting to murder "Idaspe" and has Siroe arrested. Emira is attempting to assassinate the King. Emira talks her way out of the King's suspicions; the King orders Siroe to reveal the names of the conspirators who are plotting against him or be put to death and Siroe chooses to die rather than reveal their names. Laodice implores "Idaspe"; the people are in revolt at the news of the impending execution of the popular crown prince Siroe.
Laodice confesses to the King. She is joined by Emira in begging the King to spare Siroe's life and the King's memories of his son's childhood soften his attitude toward Siroe; the commander of the army, brings the false news that Siroe has been put to death. Emira, beside herself with grief and anger, reveals her true identity to the King and that she, not Siroe, was plotting the King's assassination. Arasse informs Emira that Siroe is still living and Emira forestalls an attempt by Medarse to kill his father the King and claim the throne for himself. Rebels are threatening the King when Siroe enters and drives them away. Siroe implores Emira to drop her hatred. Siroe and Emira will marry, the King abdicates and Siroe will now be crowned King of Persia. All celebrate the fortunate outcome of events; the German-born Handel, after spending some of his early career composing operas and other pieces in Italy, settled in London, where in 1711 he had brought Italian opera for the first time with his opera Rinaldo.
A tremendous success, Rinaldo created a craze in London for Italian opera seria, a form focused overwhelmingly on solo arias for the star virtuoso singers. In 1719, Handel was appointed music director of an organisation called the Royal Academy of Music, a company under royal charter to produce Italian operas in London. Handel was not only to compose operas for the company but hire the star singers, supervise the orchestra and musicians, adapt operas from Italy for London performance. Handel had composed numerous Italian operas with varying degrees of success; the castrato Senesino and the soprano Francesca Cuzzoni had appeared in a succession of Handel operas for the Academy most of, successful with audiences, in 1726 the directors of the Academy brought over another internationally renowned singer, Faustina Bordoni, to add to the company's attractions. The two prima donnas had appeared in continental European countries in operas together without inc
Tamerlano is an opera seria in three acts written for the Royal Academy of Music theatre company, with music by George Frideric Handel to an Italian text by Nicola Francesco Haym, adapted from Agostin Piovene's Tamerlano together with another libretto entitled Bajazet after Nicolas Pradon's Tamerlan, ou La Mort de Bajazet. Viewed as one of Handel's major works, he composed it in the space of 20 days in July 1724, in a year in which two more great operas were composed by him: Giulio Cesare and Rodelinda. Eve Meyer has noted that the role of Bajazet was one of the first major tenor roles in opera, has commented on the place of the opera in the context of the contemporary fashion for Turkish culture. Tamerlano was first performed at the King's Theatre, London, on 31 October 1724, around the time of the annual performance of Nicholas Rowe's play of Tamerlane. There were 12 performances and it was repeated on 13 November 1731; the opera received a production in Hamburg with the recitative in German and the arias in Italian.
The first modern production was in Karlsruhe on 7 September 1924. Amongst recent productions, it appeared in the repertory of the Washington National Opera in 2008 and of the Los Angeles Opera in November 2009. Place: Prusa Time: 1402 The defeated Ottoman Emperor Bajazet is brought in chains to the court of Tamerlano. Tamerlano has ordered Andronico to remove the chains. Bajazet adds that the only reason he does not commit suicide is his love for his daughter, Asteria.. Tamerlano arrives and orders Andronico to try and obtain Bajazet and Asteria's consent for Asteria to marry Tamerlano, with a reward for Andronico of the Greek throne, marriage with Irene, freedom for Bajazet. Andronico is troubled, as he brought his love Asteria to try and soften Tamerlano, only to see Tamerlano fall in love with her.. Tamerlano tells Asteria of his intentions and the offer to Andronico, which makes her angry at Andronico's seeming betrayal. Bajazet declines Tamerlano's offer, furthermore is angry at his daughter's seeming meekness at Tamerlano's demands..
However, once alone, Asteria says that despite Andronico's apparent treachery, her feelings for him have not changed. Irene arrives to learn. Andronico tells Irene that she can still change the outcome if she pretends to be her own messenger and takes issue with Tamerlano, she agrees to this plan. Tamerlano tells Andronico of Asteria's acceptance of his marriage proposal, that the two planned weddings, of Tamerlano to Asteria and of Andronico to Irene, will happen soon. Tamerlano and Asteria sing contrasting arias at the situation. Asteria pretends to tell Andronico that she is about to marry Tamerlano, but through a misunderstanding, Andronico is left dejected at the thought. Meanwhile, Leone brings the disguised Irene to Tamerlano. Tamerlano hears her with composure; when Irene and Asteria are alone, Asteria shows sympathy towards Irene and speaks of her own feelings. Irene finds hope in this revelation, while Leone'comments only on love's irresistible power for good or evil.'Bajazet is outraged at his daughter's impending marriage to Tamerlano and swears to stop this, while Andronico is furious and resolves to have his vengeance on Tamerlano before he kills himself.
Asteria is secretly preparing to kill Tamerlano in the meantime. However, Bajazet manages to stall the wedding, avoids being humiliated by Tamerlano when he is stopped. Asteria makes a move to the dais, only for her father to stop her, she pulls out a dagger, saying that it would have been her present to Tamerlano. After a trio between Tamerlano and Asteria, Tamerlano orders the death of Bajazet and Asteria. However, Asteria protests that she has never been unfaithful and gets agreement from Bajazet and Irene, which gives her some feeling of happiness, she feels sad that her plans for assassination failed and that she has lost her chance for happiness. Asteria and Bajazet decide to kill themselves with concealed poison. Alone, Asteria contemplates her oncoming death. Tamerlano makes one last attempt to win Asteria and says that he will pardon her father; however and Asteria declare their love for each other, which enrages Tamerlano and makes him swear his own revenge. Bajazet tries to gain inspiration from their action, while the couple can only find happiness in facing together whatever may come of declaring their mutual love.
Meanwhile, Irene pledges her love to Tamerlano if he returns his own love to her, while Leone hopes that love will win the day over revenge. Tamerlano prepares to humiliate his enemies, begins by bringing Bajazet and Asteria before him. Andronico pleads for mercy from Tamerlano. Tamerlano will not listen, orders Asteria to become his servant, that she must first serve him wine. Asteria puts the poison from her father into the cup. Irene reveals her true identity to Tamerlano and the situation of the poisoned cup. Tamerlano orders Asteria to decide who first to give the cup to, her father or Andronico, before she may bring it to him. Asteria is about to drink from the cup herself when Andronico hits it out of her hand, which further enrages Tamerlano, he orders Asteria's arrest and confinement in the common seraglio, that Bajazet will have to see her being shamed. Bajazet, angry at this sit
Scipione - or Publio Cornelio Scipione - is an opera seria in three acts, with music composed by George Frideric Handel for the Royal Academy of Music in 1726. The librettist was Paolo Antonio Rolli. Handel composed Scipione whilst in the middle of writing Alessandro, it was based upon the life of Roman General Scipio Africanus. Its slow march is the regimental march of the Grenadier Guards and is played at London Metropolitan police passing out ceremonies. Scipione had its premiere on 12 March 1726 at Haymarket. Handel revived the opera in 1730, but it did not receive another UK production until October 1967, by the Handel Opera Society. In Germany, Scipione was revived at the Göttingen International Handel Festival in 1937 and at the annual Handel Festival in Halle in 1965. With the revival of interest in Baroque music and informed musical performance since the 1960s,Scipione, like all Handel operas, receives performances at festivals and opera houses today; the setting is New Carthage, 210 BCE, after the Roman army, led by Scipione has captured the city from the Carthaginians and their Spanish allies.
Scipione leads a procession of captives into the city through the triumphal arch. He salutes his officers, with a particular laurel for Lelio. Lelio, in return, offers the prisoner Berenice to Scipione. Scipione is attracted to Berenice, but vows to respect her honour. Berenice is in love with the Spanish prince Lucejo, among the Roman army incognito, he vows to rescue her. Lelio himself is attracted to another prisoner, but she will not return the affection whilst a prisoner; this begins to draw Lelio in sympathy with the female prisoners, although he does advise Berenice to accept Scipione's affection. The female prisoners are confined in a palace with a garden, but Scipione has forbidden strangers to enter. Still disguised, Lucejo hides when he hears Scipione approaching. Scipione proclaims his love for her. Lucejo cannot tolerate this, betrays his presence by his exclamation. Berenice tries to protect Lucejo by begging for mercy. Alone at the end of the act, Lucejo begins to become jealous. Ernando, father to Berenice, has arrived to offer a ransom for his daughter and friendship to Scipione.
Scipione tries again to woo Berenice. After Scipione has left, Lucejo reappears; this confirms Lucejo's initial jealous suspicions, but Berenice feels torn. With his jealous feelings, Lucejo does not break with Berenice, but he does pretend to express affection for Armira, in the expectation that Berenice will overhear this. Both Berenice and Armira are distressed at the situation, Scipione arrives, angry to see Lucejo in the garden. Lucejo now confesses his identity and his plans, challenges Scipione to a duel. Scipione orders the arrest of Lucejo. Berenice admits that she could love a Roman, if she had not promised herself to another. Scipione offers Ernando freedom on condition that he may marry her. Ernando replies that he would willingly give up his life and kingdom, but that he cannot break his earlier promise to Lucejo of Berenice in marriage; this nobility impresses Scipione, who plans to send Lucejo to Rome as a prisoner. He further ponders the situation, resolves to sacrifice his own personal desires for the greater happiness of the others.
He tells Berenice of his change of heart. He accepts the ransom offer from frees Berenice, saying that she may marry Lucejo. Furthermore, he gives the ransom to the couple as a wedding present. All present praise Scipione's generosity, Lucejo vows loyalty to Rome for himself and his subjects; the German-born Handel, after spending some of his early career composing operas and other pieces in Italy, settled in London, where in 1711 he had brought Italian opera for the first time with his opera Rinaldo. A tremendous success, Rinaldo created a craze in London for Italian opera seria, a form focused overwhelmingly on solo arias for the star virtuoso singers. In 1719, Handel was appointed music director of an organisation called the Royal Academy of Music, a company under royal charter to produce Italian operas in London. Handel was not only to compose operas for the company but hire the star singers, supervise the orchestra and musicians, adapt operas from Italy for London performance. Within the year 1724-1725, Handel wrote three great operas in succession for the Royal Academy of Music, each with Senesino and Francesca Cuzzoni as the stars, Giulio Cesare,Tamerlano, Rodelinda.
The directors of the Royal Academy of Music decided to increase the appeal of the operas by bringing another internationally famous singer, the soprano Faustina Bordoni, to join the established London stars Cuzzoni and Senesino, as was reported in the London press - the Daily Journal wrote on 31 August 1725'We hear that the Royal Academy Musick, in the Hay Market, have contracted with famous Chauntess for 2500 l., coming over from Italy against the Winter' with the London Journal adding "'Signiora Faustina, a famous Italian Lady, is coming over this Winter to rival Signiora Cuzzoni". However Faustina did not arrive when expected, which meant that the opera Handel was composing to feature two important leading ladies, was not suitable for the gap in the opera house's schedule which had to be filled. For this reason he composed Scipione in three weeks and it received its first performance ten days after he finished composing it; the haste in which Scipione was put toget
Admeto, re di Tessaglia is a three-act opera written for the Royal Academy of Music with music composed by George Frideric Handel to an Italian-language libretto prepared by Nicola Haym. The story is based on Euripides' Alcestis; the opera's first performance was at the Haymarket Theatre in London on 31 January 1727. The original cast included Faustina Bordoni as Alcestis and Francesca Cuzzoni as Antigona, as Admeto was the second of the five operas that Handel composed to feature these two prime donne of the day; the opera was successful at its first performances. However the presence of two prima donnas in the London operas had created factions of partisan supporters of either one or the other ladies, some performances were disrupted by hisses and loud cat calls by supporters of one of the star sopranos whenever the other one was singing, creating public scandal; the German-born Handel, after spending some of his early career composing operas and other pieces in Italy, settled in London, where in 1711 he had brought Italian opera for the first time with his opera Rinaldo.
A tremendous success, Rinaldo created a craze in London for Italian opera seria, a form focused overwhelmingly on solo arias for the star virtuoso singers. In 1719, Handel was appointed music director of an organisation called the Royal Academy of Music, a company under royal charter to produce Italian operas in London. Handel was not only to compose operas for the company but hire the star singers, supervise the orchestra and musicians, adapt operas from Italy for London performance. Handel had composed numerous Italian operas with varying degrees of success; the star soprano Francesca Cuzzoni had partnered with internationally renowned castrato Senesino as the leading performers in a long series of Italian operas by Handel and other composers for the Academy, to increase audience interest, the directors decided to import another celebrated singer from Italy, soprano Faustina Bordoni, so that the operas would have not one but two leading ladies onstage. This was a common practice in opera houses of the day in Italy and Cuzzoni and Faustina, as Bordoni was called, had appeared together in various European cities without incident.
Scene:Greece, in legendary times. In a room of his palace, dominated by a statue of the god Apollo, King Admetus of Thessaly lies dying, tormented by terrible dreams, he is told by a courtier, that his brother, Trasimede, is in a bad way, obsessed with the portrait of a woman. The hero Hercules, on his never ending mission to perform glorious deeds to increase his fame, has come to pay a visit to his friend King Admetus; as her husband the king sleeps, his wife Alceste prays to Apollo to spare his life. The statue speaks and informs her that only if a close relative dies in his place will Admetus be permitted to continue to live. Alceste resolves to sacrifice her life for her husband. Living in a nearby wood, disguised as shepherds, are Princess Antigona of Troy and her tutor Merapse. King Admetus jilted her in favour of Alceste; this rejection of her is the reason, Antigona believes, why he is being punished with a mortal illness. She sends Merapse to the palace. In the gardens of the palace, Alceste holds a dagger, preparing to die in her husband's place as she bids farewell to her grieving ladies-in-waiting, retires.
Admetus, enters with his friend Hercules, celebrating his recovery. Lamentations are heard from within and Admetus is horrified to see his wife's dead body. Admetus knows that Hercules once descended into the underworld and brought the hero Theseus back to the land of the living and asks him to do the same for Alceste, to which Hercules agrees. Merapse tells her about Alceste's death and Admetus' recovery, they are glad that now there seems to be nothing in the way of Admetus making Antigona his wife, as he had promised. A hunting party approaches, led by Trasimede, who recognises Antigona as the woman whose portrait he carries about with him at all times, never ceasing to gaze at it, she insists, that he is mistaken. Trasimede offers her a job at the palace, working as a gardener, which Antigona is glad to accept as she will be able to be close to Admetus that way and hopes to teach him a lesson; the second act opens in Hades. Hercules appears, fights with Cerberus the guard dog of hell, overcomes the Furies and breaks the fetters tying Alceste to the rock.
She joyfully looks forward to being reunited with her husband. Antigona is working at her new job as a gardener at the palace, where she has attracted the unwelcome attentions of the courtier Orindo, whom she spurns. Trasimede has lost interest in the portrait he was so obsessed with now he sees "Rosilda" who so resembles it, tosses the portrait aside, whereupon Orindo picks it up. Antigona / "Rosilda" is not interested in anyone but King Admetus and rejects Trasimede also. Orindo takes the portrait to Admetus and tells him that Trasimede had not been honest when he had shown him another portrait of the Trojan princess he had been engaged to. Admetus is astonished by the resemblance of the portrait to his new gardener "Rosilda". Admetus gives no satisfactory answer, leaving "Rosilda" sti
Rinaldo is an opera by George Frideric Handel, composed in 1711, was the first Italian language opera written for the London stage. The libretto was prepared by Giacomo Rossi from a scenario provided by Aaron Hill, the work was first performed at the Queen's Theatre in London's Haymarket on 24 February 1711; the story of love and redemption, set at the time of the First Crusade, is loosely based on Torquato Tasso's epic poem Gerusalemme liberata, its staging involved many original and vivid effects. It was a great success with the public, despite negative reactions from literary critics hostile to the contemporary trend towards Italian entertainment in English theatres. Handel composed Rinaldo borrowing and adapting music from operas and other works that he had composed during a long stay in Italy in the years 1706–10, during which he established a considerable reputation. In the years following the premiere, he made numerous amendments to the score. Rinaldo is regarded by critics as one of Handel's greatest operas.
Of its individual numbers, the soprano aria "Lascia ch'io pianga" has become a particular favourite, is a popular concert piece. Handel went on to dominate opera in England for several decades. Rinaldo was revived in London up to 1717, in a revised version in 1731. After 1731, the opera was not staged for more than 200 years. Renewed interest in baroque opera during the 20th century led to the first modern professional production in Handel's birthplace, Germany, in 1954; the opera was mounted sporadically over the following thirty years. Rinaldo was the first Handel Opera; the opera's tercentenary in 2011 brought a modernized production at the Glyndebourne Festival. Handel began to compose operas in Hamburg, where he spent the years 1703–06. At that time, German opera as a genre was still not defined; the music was, in the words of historian Donald Jay Grout, "tinged with the serious, heavy formality of Lutheran Germany". The first of Handel's early works in the German style was Almira, a considerable success when it was premiered on 8 January 1705.
Over the next three years Handel composed three more operas in the German style, but all of these are now lost. However, fragments of the music from these works have been identified in operas. In autumn 1706 Handel went to Italy, he stayed for long periods in Florence, Rome and Venice, making frequent visits to the opera houses and concert halls. He obtained introductions to leading musicians, among them Arcangelo Corelli and Domenico Scarlatti, Agostino Steffani, met numerous singers and performers. From these acquaintances Handel learned the essential characteristics of Italian music, in particular "fluency in the treatment of Italian verse, accurate declamation and flexible harmonic rhythm in recitative... drawing the necessary distinction between vocal and instrumental material and, above all, the release of wonderful melodic gift". Handel's first Italian opera, showed an incomplete grasp of Italian style, with much of Keiser's Hamburg influence still evident, he followed this by a lengthy visit to Rome, where opera performances were forbidden by papal decree, honed his skills through the composition of cantatas and oratorios.
In Rome, Handel met a diplomat and spare-time librettist. After this work's triumphant premiere at the Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo in Venice, on 26 December 1709, Handel became, says biographer P. H. Lang, "world famous and the idol of a spoiled and knowledgeable audience"; this sudden recognition led to eager competition for Handel's services. Among those most keen to employ him was Prince Georg Ludwig, the Elector of Hanover and future King George I of Great Britain. In June 1710 Handel accepted the appointment of Kapellmeister to Georg's Hanover court, under terms that gave him considerable scope to pursue his own interests. On the basis of this freedom, in late 1710 Handel left Hanover for London in response to an earlier invitation from members of the English nobility. By 1711, informed London audiences had become familiar with the nature of Italian opera through the numerous pastiches and adaptations, staged; the former Royal Academy of Music Principal, Curtis Price, writes that the popularity of these pieces was the result of a deliberate strategy aimed at the suppression of English opera.
Handel's music was unknown in England, though his reputation from Agrippina was considerable elsewhere. A short "Italian Dialogue" he had written in honour of Queen Anne's birthday was well received when performed at St James's Palace on 6 February 1711. In London, by means which are not documented, Handel secured a commission to write an Italian opera for the Queen's Theatre in the Haymarket; this theatre and built by Sir John Vanbrugh, had become London's main opera house.
George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel was a German British, Baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming well-known for his operas, oratorios and organ concertos. Handel received important training in Halle-upon-Saale and worked as a composer in Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712, he was influenced both by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and by the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition. Within fifteen years, Handel had started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera. Musicologist Winton Dean writes; as Alexander's Feast was well received, Handel made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah he never composed an Italian opera again. Blind, having lived in England for nearly fifty years, he died in 1759, a respected and rich man, his funeral was given full state honours, he was buried in Westminster Abbey in London. Born the same year as Johann Sebastian Bach and Domenico Scarlatti, Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Baroque era, with works such as Messiah, Water Music, Music for the Royal Fireworks remaining steadfastly popular.
One of his four coronation anthems, Zadok the Priest, composed for the coronation of George II, has been performed at every subsequent British coronation, traditionally during the sovereign's anointing. Another of his English oratorios, has remained popular, with the Sinfonia that opens act 3 featuring at the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony. Handel composed more than forty operas in over thirty years, since the late 1960s, with the revival of baroque music and informed musical performance, interest in Handel's operas has grown. Handel was born in 1685 to Georg Händel and Dorothea Taust, his father, aged sixty-three when George Frideric was born, was an eminent barber-surgeon who served the court of Saxe-Weissenfels and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. Georg Händel was the son of a coppersmith, Valentin Händel, who had emigrated from Eisleben in 1608 with his first wife Anna Belching, the daughter of a master coppersmith, they were Protestants and chose reliably Protestant Saxony over Silesia, a Hapsburg possession, as religious tensions mounted in the years before the Thirty Years War.
Halle was a prosperous city, home of a salt-mining industry and center of trade. The Margrave of Brandenburg became the administrator of the archiepiscopal territories of Mainz, including Magdeburg when they converted, by the early 17th century held his court in Halle, which attracted renowned musicians; the smaller churches all had "able organists and fair choirs", humanities and the letters thrived. The Thirty Years War brought extensive destruction to Halle, by the 1680s it was impoverished. However, since the middle of the war the city had been under the administration of the Duke of Saxony, soon after the end of the war he would bring musicians trained in Dresden to his court in Weissenfels; the arts and music, flourished only among the higher strata, of which Handel's family was not a member. Georg Händel was born at the beginning of the war, was apprenticed to a barber in Halle at the age of 14, after his father died; when he was 20, he married the widow of the official barber-surgeon of a suburb of Halle, inheriting his practice.
With this, Georg determinedly began the process of becoming self-made. Anna died in 1682. Within a year Georg married again, this time to the daughter of a Lutheran minister, Pastor Georg Taust of the Church of St. Bartholomew in Giebichtenstein, who himself came from a long line of Lutheran pastors. Handel was the second child of this marriage. Two younger sisters were born after the birth of George Frideric: Dorthea Sophia, born 6 October 1687, Johanna Christiana, born 10 January 1690. Early in his life Handel is reported to have attended the gymnasium in Halle, where the headmaster, Johann Praetorius, was reputed to be an ardent musician. Whether Handel remained there or for how long is unknown, but many biographers suggest that he was withdrawn from school by his father, based on the characterization of him by Handel's first biographer, John Mainwaring. Mainwaring is the source for all information of Handel's childhood, much of that information came from J. C. Smith, Jr. Handel's confidant and copyist.
Whether it came from Smith or elsewhere, Mainwaring relates misinformation. It is from Mainwaring that the portrait comes of Handel's father as implacably opposed to any musical education. Mainwaring writes that Georg Händel was "alarmed" at Handel's early propensity for music, "took every measure to oppose it", including forbidding any musical instrument in the house and preventing Handel from going to any house where they might be found; this did nothing to dampen young Handel's inclination. Mainwaring tells the story of Handel's