I Listened To All Handel’s Operas

handelWasn’t me! I certainly didn’t submit myself to experiencing all 42 of them in one gulp. In honor of the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death, a writer named Emma Pomfret did. Her report: “I’ve seen three Handel operas on stage – ‘Agrippina,’ ‘Giulio Cesare,’ and ‘Xerxes’ – so I knew that he wrote for funny-sounding, high-voiced men (the 18th-century castrati singers or today’s countertenors. If Alan Carr sang opera he’d sound like this, probably), and that women often play men in his operas (so-called trouser roles). I’m prepared for the hours of recitative – the conversational bits that advance the plot – punctuated by arias, which express the characters’ emotions. Most importantly, I like Handel’s operas. At least, I did like them…”

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