Aria concert Philippe Jaroussky
GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL • Arias of Teseo from Teseo, HWV 9
GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL • Arias of Ulisse from Deidamia, HWV 42
GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL • Arias of Apollo and Orfeo from Parnasso in festa, HWV 73
GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL • Arias of Aci from Aci, Galatea et Polifemo, HWV 72
and other works
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Throughout Georg Friedrich Handel’s oeuvre, we encounter the heroes and motifs of Greek mythology in his operas, oratorios and serenades, and the composer repeatedly succeeds in investing his figures with unusual facets. In Handel’s eponymous magical opera of 1713, Teseo (Theseus), who entered the annals of musical history first and foremost thanks to the Ariadne episode, ends up in dire straits and becomes entangled in liaisons, and ultimately divine providence is needed to save his life and lead his beloved into his embrace. Composed in 1741, Handel’s last opera, Deidamia, also appears to anticipate Jacques Offenbach’s later treatment of the world of the gods; we experience a cheerfully ironic version of the story of Achilles during the Trojan War, in which, of course, Odysseus is also included.
Handel set his serenade, Parnasso in festa, written for the wedding of the English Princess Anne and Prince William of Orange in 1734, on Greece’s mythical mountain, the home of Apollo and his nine muses. In accordance with the festive occasion, the holy fire of love is invoked, and even Orpheus is supposed to forget his grief over the loss of his Eurydice for once. In the myth of the shepherd Acis and the beautiful sea nymph Galatea, recorded in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, it is the sea god Nereus who ensures that the lovers are reunited after the violent death of Acis by reviving him in the form of a silvery spring. Handel set this story to music twice, the first time in the serenata à tre entitled Aci, Galatea e Polifemo, composed in 1708.