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Handel's Operas, 1704-1726 [Hardcover]

Winton Dean , John Merrill Knapp
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 20 2014
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.

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One of the great monuments of musical scholarship of our day - a mine of information lucidly delved, sharply stimulating...a pleasure to read for its crisply expressed, infinitely discerning and above all loving responses to the works themselves. FINANCIAL TIMESThis volume is a monument to the source-critical method. It is a rigorous investigation of the bewilderingly abundant musical and literary sources of each opera, and its most lasting influence will be on future editions of Handel's music. EARLY MUSICThis is a volume that every listener to or viewer of Handel's operas will want to purchase, and examine at length...Top marks for this reissue. FANFARE

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Most helpful customer reviews
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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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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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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