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Handel's Operas, 1704-1726 [Paperback]

Winton Dean , John M. Knapp
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 1995 Clarendon Paperbacks
Extensive corrections and updating in the light of recent scholarship, including a complete list of modern stage productions up to 1993

This long-awaited book takes the story as far as the spring of 1726 and covers Handel's first seventeen surviving operas including many of the greatest and most successful. Each opera has a chapter to itself which includes: a full synopsis of the libretto (including the original stage directions); a comparison between the libretto and its literary and dramatic sources; a discussion of the music with special emphasis on its dramatic power; and a performance history of the opera.

General chapters deal with the opera seria convention and Handel's treatment of it; the operatic background in the three countries where he worked; the operas of his contemporaries and rivals; audiences; performance practice; and other related matters. Eight appendices list all performances in Handel's time (with location of librettos), borrowings, modern revivals, new information on his singers, and a complete index of Italian first lines in all Handel's works.

New for the revised edition:

This paperback edition includes a host of corrections and updating which have come to light since the first edition was published in 1987, in particular, Appendix F, the list of Modern Stage Productions, which has been fully updated to the end of 1993.


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Review

`This book is going to be the standard work on Handel's operas for future generations.' -- Music and Letters

`indispensable book' -- Observer

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5.0 out of 5 stars For those who love the operas of Handel June 11 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book delving in depth into the story, historical background, musical significance and the casting of each of Handel's over 40 operas. The book makes a great case for including some of these operas into the standard repertory of all opera producing companies. It also eloquently dismisses most of the myths and outdated traditions surrounding these great works. It is a must have for opera impresarios, producers and music directors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book about Handel's Operas July 19 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The interest in Handel's stage music has risen considerably in the last few decades, and one really needs a book like this for an in-depth reference about the genesis and analysis of his operas. Here one can find a bit about Handel's life as well, but the main focus is on the musico-dramatic structure of his works. I found the author's analysis of Handel's usage of da-capo conventions to create living characters particularly illuminating. The only warning to the potential buyers: this volume talks only about the operas written until 1724, so it does not include analyses of such major works as Alcina, Serse or Ariodante. We still have to wait for the next volume.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book about Handel's Operas July 19 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The interest in Handel's stage music has risen considerably in the last few decades, and one really needs a book like this for an in-depth reference about the genesis and analysis of his operas. Here one can find a bit about Handel's life as well, but the main focus is on the musico-dramatic structure of his works. I found the author's analysis of Handel's usage of da-capo conventions to create living characters particularly illuminating. The only warning to the potential buyers: this volume talks only about the operas written until 1724, so it does not include analyses of such major works as Alcina, Serse or Ariodante. We still have to wait for the next volume.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Depth and Easy To Read Aug. 25 2005
By C. Counts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a remarkable book. I have been an avid Handel fan since before it was fashionable and I can't tell you how many times I have referred to this book. It contains incredible history and facts, as well as insights into the libretto (including plot structure), relationships of arias to other compositions (= Handel's famous "borrowing"), instrumentation, etc. A real wealth of knowledge.

I have been waiting since 1995 for Volume II where Handel's best (and conversely, most pathetic) works would be analyzed. Sadly, I understand that Mr. Dean has since passed away and thus, I doubt that I will ever see the work completed. If any of you out there are musicologists and/or music historians, please consider filling in this disappointing gap!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best from the best Nov. 30 2010
By Renato Baserga - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
this is a scholarly book on Handel's operas, there is a 2nd volume that treat the operas after 1726. Both are by Dean Winton and he is the best critic on Handel's operas, and Handel's operas are the best Baroque operas. A winning combination. There is not much else to say. If you like Handel's operas, and you wish to understand them better, this book and its companion are a must.
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