Handel's Operas, 1726-1741

Handel's Operas, 1726-1741

Winton Dean


Boydell Press



Detailed overview of Handel's final 22 operas - including major masterpieces such as Orlando, Ariodante and Alcina and the brilliant lighter works Partenope, Serse and Imeneo - by the world's leading authority.
Handel ranks with Monteverdi, Mozart and Verdi among the supreme masters of opera, yet between 1754 (when Handel was still living) and 1920 not one of his operas was performed anywhere. Their revival in the modern theatre has been among the most remarkable phenomena in the history of the art. But they are still too little understood, or studied, and until recently no reliable modern editions existed.
This long-awaited book is the sequel to Handel's Operas 1704-1726, published in 1987. It is the first study in depth of Handel's last twenty-two operas, including major masterpieces such as Orlando, Ariodante and Alcina and the brilliant lighter works Partenope, Serse and Imeneo. Each chapter contains a full synopsis and study of the libretto, a detailed assessment of the opera's musical and (often misunderstood) dramatic qualities, a performance history, and comparison of the different versions.
Much new material has been incorporated. In addition four general chapters throw a vivid light on the historical background. Two Epilogues touch on Handel's dramatic vision, the revival of his operas in the twentieth century, and their performance today. There are a number of valuable Appendices. Together with its predecessor, the book provides the first complete overview of these works.
WINTON DEAN is the most distinguished British authority on the life and work of Handel; he has also written extensively on opera in general.

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December 2006
17 black and white illustrations
602 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843832683
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BISAC MUS020000, MUS028000
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Table of Contents

The Rival Queens 1726-1728
Admeto Re di Tessaglia
Riccardo Primo Re d'Inghilterra
Siroe Re di Persia
Tolomeo Re di Egitto
The `Second Academy' 1729-1734
Poro Re dell'Indie
Sosarme Re di Media
Arianna in Creta
Covent Garden 1734-1737
Berenice Regina di Egitto
The Last Operas 1738-1741


Together with the previous volume, Dean has provided an invaluable reference to what he no doubt sees as the essential point: keeping Handel's works alive on the stage for a long time to come. OPERA QUARTERLY

We are fortunate to have Dean's erudite and enthusiastic advocacy of these splendid works. Handel's Operas provides essential reading for scholars, a warning for directors, information for opera-goers...and a source of great pleasure for anyone interested in 18th century culture. A delight. MUSICAL TIMES [Patricia Howard]
Dean's book is clearly outstanding, and is essential reading for anyone who wants to discover almost everything there is to know about these fascinating works. SUNDAY TIMES [Hugh Canning]
The writing is throughout an object lesson to those who with half (or less) of Dean's scholarly knowledge would blind us with obtuse and convoluted language. It is this above all that will surely ensure Handel's Operas a place on the shelves of the general enthusiast.GOLDBERG [Brian Robins]
No music library or ardent Handelian should be without it. BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE [5 Stars]
It is not fanciful to insist that without Winton Dean's invaluable devotion to Handel scholarship many of his subsequent colleagues would have remained fumbling in the dark for decades. GRAMOPHONE [David Vickers]
An important book - a minor miracle. OPERA
There are riches in this book...Again and again Dean's descriptions leap off the page with a vividness that compels attention. The reader is gripped not only by the elegance and wit of his style but also by the sense that this writer...is truly a man of the theatre. EARLY MUSIC TODAY
Monumental, encyclopedic, indispensable, not-to-be-superseded...essential reading. EARLY MUSIC
Dean's accomplishment is extraordinary , and his work is of monumental significance. NOTES
Dean's comments...are illuminating and often powerfully evocative...This book and its predecessor are a remarkable achievement. MUSIC & LETTERS
A critically important book, bursting with information that, as with Dean's earlier books, will likely remain important and relevant after many years. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

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