This first of the classic two-volume survey of Handel's operas was first published in 1987 and reissued in a revised paperback edition in 1995. Now it is brought back into print in a year which has seen numerous productions and recordings of the operas and which marks the 250th anniversary of Handel's death. Their revival in the modern theatre - not a single opera was staged or performed anywhere between 1754 and 1920 - has been among the most remarkable phenomena in the history of the art, and is due in no small measure to the painstaking research of Dean and Knapp in volume one, and Dean himself in volume two, published by Boydell in 2006. This first volume devotes a chapter to each of Handel's first seventeen operas, offering a full synopsis and study of the libretto, extensive discussions of the music, a performance history, and a comparison of the different versions of the opera. In addition there are several general chapters on the historical and stylistic context of Handel's operatic career to 1726, and a number of Appendices including a list of performances during Handel's life and the location of librettos, Handel's borrowings, Handel's singers, and modern stage productions up to the end of 1993. WINTON DEAN is a distinguished Handelian scholar and writer on opera. He is a former vice-president of the Georg-Friedrich-Handel Gesellschaft in Halle and a founding Council Member of the Handel Institute in London. JOHN MERRILL KNAPP died in 1993. He was Emeritus Professor of Music, Princeton University and the editor of two volumes of the German edition of Handel's complete works, and author of The Joy of Opera.
After two centures of near-total neglect, Handel's operas are now increasingly popular in the theatre, but modern productions are hampered by dependence on obsolete and inaccurate editions, and by ignorance of the musical and theatrical practice of Handel's age. Although Handel's autographs and performing scores have long been available, they have never before been fully studied, still less the very early manuscript copies. The manuscripts have yielded a great deal of unknown music, besides throwing fresh light on Handel's methods of composition and performance practice.
This book covers Handel's first seventeen surviving operas, including his greatest and most successful. Each opera has a chapter, with a full synopsis of the libretto (including all original stage directions) and a comparison with its literary and dramatic sources. Each chapter covers the history of the opera in performance and the different versions in the manuscripts. Every known surviving manuscript has been examined. Eight appendices cover all performances in Handel's time, borrowings, modern revivals, new information on his singers, and a complete index of Italian first lines in all Handel's works. About the Authors: Wynton Dean is the author of Handel's Dramatic Oratorios and Masques. John Merrill Knapp is Emeritus Professor of Music at Princeton University.