125. Jephté (Montéclair)

Tragédie tirée de l'Écriture sainte (tragédie biblique) in a prologue and 5 actsComposer: Michel Pignolet de MontéclairLibretto: Abbé Simon-Joseph Pellegrin, after Judges 11First performed: Académie royale de musique, Paris, 20 (28?) February 1732 Do you believe that yours is the only true god? Do you think that members of other religions are blasphemous idolaters who … Continue reading 125. Jephté (Montéclair)

124. Orlando furioso (Vivaldi)

Dramma per musico in 3 actsComposer: Antonio VivaldiLibretto: Grazio Braccioli, after Ariosto's Orlando FuriosoFirst performed: Teatro Sant'Angelo, Venice, autumn 1727 Vivaldi, like his wicked sorceress Alcina, enchants the senses, then lures us into a queasily erotic nightmare of the sort we associate more with Richard Strauss than opera seria. Gustave Doré's depiction of Alcina The … Continue reading 124. Orlando furioso (Vivaldi)

123. Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Handel)

Dramma per musico in 3 actsComposer: George Frideric HandelLibretto: Niccolò Francesco Haym after Giacomo Francesco BussaniFirst performed: King's Theater, Haymarket, London, 20 February 1724 The ides of March may have passed, but we still have time to stab Caesar. Here it is: the most famous and beloved opera seria. Keates calls it a "tragicomic masterpiece"; … Continue reading 123. Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Handel)

121. La verità in cimento (Vivaldi)

Opera in 3 acts Composer: Antonio Vivaldi Libretto: Giovanni Palazzi First performed: Teatro Sant’Angelo, Venice, Autumn 1720   The sultan Mahmoud’s wife Rustena and his mistress Damira each give birth on the same day.  The concubine, with the sultan’s knowledge, swaps her baby with the queen’s; both women bring up the wrong child as their … Continue reading 121. La verità in cimento (Vivaldi)

120. L’incoronazione di Dario (Vivaldi)

Dramma per musica in 3 acts Composer: Antonio Vivaldi Libretto: Adriano Morselli First performed: Teatro Sant'Angelo, Venice, 23 January 1717 A simple word association test: Vivaldi ... Anyone not think of the Four Seasons? Vivaldi was, though, more than just an instrumental composer; he was a priest (his severe asthma forced him to leave the … Continue reading 120. L’incoronazione di Dario (Vivaldi)

119. Rinaldo (Handel)

Opera seria in 3 acts Composer: George Frideric Handel Libretto: Aaron Hill and Giacomo Rossi First performed: Queen’s Theatre, Haymarket, London, 2 February 1711; revised King’s Theatre, Haymarket, 6 April 1731 Rinaldo was Handel’s first opera written for England, and, indeed, the first Italian opera composed for London.  It capitalized (so to speak) on the … Continue reading 119. Rinaldo (Handel)

118. Agrippina (Handel)

Opera seria in 3 acts Composer: George Frideric Handel Libretto: Cardinal Vincenzo Grimani First performed: Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo, Venice, 26 December 1709 For many people, Handel is Baroque opera: musical and scenic spectaculars based on classical myth, medieval romance, or history, with castrati singing elaborate, highly ornamented da capo (A-B-A) arias. Haydn hailed him … Continue reading 118. Agrippina (Handel)