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.