George Friederic Handel Versus Sopranos

George Friederick Handel was anything but conventional

George Friederic Handel Versus Sopranos. Handel was born in the same year as J.S. Bach. J.S. Bach avoided the operatic form. Handel did not. George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel (/ˈhændəl/;[a] born Georg Friedrich Händel,[b] German pronunciation: [ˈhɛndəl]; 23 February 1685 (O.S.) [(N.S.) 5 March] – 14 April 1759)[2][c] was a German, later British, baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos.

Maria Callas (one of the greatest sopranos ever) with her teacher Elvira de Hidalgo in 1954

Georege Friederic Handel had his first operatic job was  in his home town of Halle. There he played in the second violin section at the opera house near the  famed Goosemarket. At age 19 he tired of being in the second violin section. So, he switched from playing “second fiddle” to playing the “first” (and only)  harpsichord. He decided to write opera during the run of the Cleopatra by Johann Matheson. Matheson wanted to play the last part,  as usual, on the harpsichord by  himself, The was supposed to be during the very last scene. One night young Handel and Matheson got into a brawl  just before the last scene. Handel didn’t want to abandon the instrument. Their verbal and physical fight lasted a half-hour. Of course, the audience went wild over this major disagreement. After that experience, Handel decided to write his own operas. And, he did. He wrote some 46 in total.

My own favorite story about George Friederic Handel Versus Sopranos

Victor Borge has a number of soprano stories in My favorite Intermissions. A particular wild anecdote involves the Italian soprano, Francesca Cuzzoni. The George Friederic Handel opera she was to appear in was called Ottone.   Unfortunately, Francesca became inflamed: She thought Ottone did not show off her singing abilities to their fullest. Consequently, she refused to do the big number unless Handel let her improvise extra high notes.  How did it resolve? Georege Friederic Handel, in a burst of anger, hoisted her over a window ledge on the 2nd floor of the building. While dangling from the window, she decided Handel’s way wasn’t so bad after all. It’s regrettable that so much color is lost in music history classes at both high school and  university levels. These stories are necessary to perpetuate the art. Great composers were also real human beings. I think it’s time for a revival of great classical writers and their works. Such stories can help. More blogs will be posted on this topic. Keep watching.  Don’t be shy about sharing them with friends. Also, I David Ohrenstein and wife Sharon Lesley, have collaborated on an opera, Octavian and Cleopatra. Here is a small excerpt. Be the first in your locality to have our new opera. Contact us through our DSOworks@gmail.com

Cleopatra’s ladies in waiting give her a potion to calm her over the her grief  of the suicide of her husband, Marc Anthony.  In a drunken stupor, Cleopatra mistakes the Captain of the Roman guard for her former lover and husband. The ladies in waiting  gladly let this happen, hoping that the captain would fall in love with Cleopatra, and help them them to escape from Egypt. (Cleopatra played by Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein, Baron Garriott playes Captain Derceteus at the Players Theatre production in Sarasota, Florida)
Description Tags: Strong Role for a Leading Man *Strong Role for a Leading Lady *Musical Drama *Minimal Sets and Costumes *Period Piece/Historical *Classic Broadway *Operetta/Operatic.  
 

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