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)

What could the Met do instead?

The 2019/20 Met season could be jazzed up. I've tried to stick with the same composer or style, rather than, say, fifty French operas nobody's ever heard of. HANDEL: Agrippina GLUCK: Orfeo ed Euridice --> Iphigénie en Aulide MOZART Marriage of Figaro --> SALIERI: Tartare (libretto by Beaumarchais) / Axur re d'Ormus, Italian version, libretto … Continue reading What could the Met do instead?

Met? Meh

"For many opera lovers, opera has become a museum, where one revisits a few cherished works, chiefly with a view to hearing fine voices sing." - Vincent Giroud The Met announced its 2019/20 season this week. Handel's Agrippina and Glass's Akhnaten are the most interesting on offer, maybe Janáček's Kát'a Kabanová and Gershwin's Porgy & Bess, too. And Michael Spyres (probably the … Continue reading Met? Meh

117. Tancrède (Campra)

Tragédie lyrique in a prologue and 5 acts Composer: André Campra Libretto: Antoine Danchet, after Tasso First performed: Théâtre du Palais-Royal, Paris, 7 November 1702, conducted by Marin Marais Welcome to the 18th century! Campra was the leading opera composer between Lully and Rameau.  A Provençal, he began as a church musician, rising to become … Continue reading 117. Tancrède (Campra)

116. Médée (Charpentier)

Tragédie lyrique in a prologue and 5 acts Composer : Marc-Antoine Charpentier Libretto : Thomas Corneille First performed : Académie royale de musique, Paris, 4 December 1693 Lully was dead – and with him his monopoly over opera. https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x44fg5c For more than a decade, only he had been able to compose opera in France. He defined the tragédie … Continue reading 116. Médée (Charpentier)

115. Armide (Lully)

ARMIDE Tragédie lyrique in prologue and 5 actsComposer : Jean-Baptiste LullyLibretto : Philippe QuinaultFirst performed : Académie royale de musique, théâtre du Palais-Royal, Paris, 15 February 1686 Armide, Lully and Quinault’s final tragédie lyrique, is generally considered their masterpiece.  The critics, for once, are right.  If you listen to only one Lully, listen to this. We’ve been rather … Continue reading 115. Armide (Lully)