One of the great monuments of musical scholarship of our day - a mine of information lucidly delved, sharply stimulating...a pleasure to read for its crisply expressed, infinitely discerning and above all loving responses to the works themselves. FINANCIAL TIMESThis volume is a monument to the source-critical method. It is a rigorous investigation of the bewilderingly abundant musical and literary sources of each opera, and its most lasting influence will be on future editions of Handel's music. EARLY MUSICThis is a volume that every listener to or viewer of Handel's operas will want to purchase, and examine at length...Top marks for this reissue. FANFARE
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Winner of the Yorkshire Post Music Book Award 1987, this book examines all of Handel's operas. It takes the story as far as the spring of 1726, when the Italian singer Faustina Bordoni arrived in London, and covers Handel's first 17 surviving operas including many of the greatest and most successful. Each opera has a chapter to itself which includes: a full synopsis of the libretto (including the original stage directions; a comparison between the libretto and its literary and dramatic sources; a discussion of the music with special emphasis on its dramatic power; and a history of the opera in performance. General chapters deal with the opera seria convention and Handel's treatment of it; the operatic background in the three countries where he worked; the operas of his contemporaries and rivals; audiences; performance practice, and other related matters. Eight appendices list all the performances in Handel's time (with location of librettos), borrowings, modern revivals, new information on his singers, and a complete index of Italian first lines in all Handel's works. This is a book for all Handelians, and students of music, opera, and theatre in the 18th century.