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)

112. Dido and Aeneas (Purcell)

DIDO AND AENEAS Composer: Henry Purcell Libretto: Nahum Tate, after Virgil's Aeneid First performed: 1680s, after Blow's Venus and Adonis Dido and Aeneas is probably the best opera since Monteverdi. Purcell - "the English Orpheus" - and Lully were contemporaries. You can hear the Franco-Italian's influence on the overture (slow-fast-slow in the French style), in … Continue reading 112. Dido and Aeneas (Purcell)

111. Venus and Adonis (Blow)

VENUS AND ADONIS First performed: circa 1683 Composer: John Blow Libretto: Unknown, possibly Anne Kingsmill Opera in England began in the court of Charles II, the merry monarch who reopened theatres and restored enjoyment after the gloomy, god-fearing government of Oliver Cromwell. (Lord protect us from Protectors!) There had been masques, of course, since the … Continue reading 111. Venus and Adonis (Blow)