|Giulio Cesare Synopsis|
|Giulio Cesare Libretto|
|Contralto or Mezzo-Soprano or CounterTenor|
|Previous scene:||Venere bella per un istante|
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Concerto Koln - Conductor Rene Jacobs
George Frideric Handel (23 February 1685 (O.S.) [(N.S.) 5 March] – 14 April 1759) was a German-born British Baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos. Born in a family indifferent to music, Handel received critical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712), and became a naturalized British subject in 1727. He was strongly influenced both by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition. Born the same year as Johann Sebastian Bach and Domenico Scarlatti, Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Baroque era.
Musicologist Winton Dean writes that his operas show that "Handel was not only a great composer; he was a dramatic genius of the first order.
After his success with Messiah (1742) he never performed an Italian opera again. Almost blind, and having lived in England for nearly fifty years, he died in 1759, a respected and rich man. His funeral was given full state honours, and he was buried in Westminster Abbey in London.
In April 1737, at age 52, Handel apparently suffered a stroke which disabled the use of four fingers on his right hand, preventing him from performing. In August 1750, on a journey back from Germany to London, Handel was seriously injured in a carriage accident between The Hague and Haarlem in the Netherlands. In 1751 one eye started to fail. The cause was a cataract which was operated on by the great charlatan Chevalier Taylor. This did not improve his eyesight, but possibly made it worse. The second was his blindness, first noted in 1751, when he was 66. He had to stop composing because of a weakening in his left eye. He never recovered his eyesight, becoming almost blind towards the end of his life. It was likely that Handel felt "dejected, wan, and dark" at the onset of his blindness.
He died eight years later in 1759 at home in Brook Street, at age 74. The last performance he attended was of Messiah. Handel was buried in Westminster Abbey.[More than three thousand mourners attended his funeral, which was given full state honours.
Handel never married, and kept his personal life private.
Handel has generally been accorded high esteem by fellow composers, both in his own time and since. J.S. Bach attempted, unsuccessfully, to meet with Handel while he was visiting Halle. Johann Sebastian Bach is attributed with the following remark:
"[Händel] is the only person I would wish to see before I die, and the only person I would wish to be, were I not Bach." Upon hearing the above statement, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is said to have exclaimed: "Truly, I would say the same myself if I were permitted to put in a word" Mozart is reputed to have said of him, "Handel understands affect better than any of us. When he chooses, he strikes like a thunder bolt." To Beethoven he was "the master of us all... the greatest composer that ever lived. I would uncover my head and kneel before his tomb." By all accounts, when the great composer Haydn first heard Messiah, he wept like a child and declared of this street-composer, Handel, “He is the master of us all!”
Al lampo dell'armi quest'alma guerriera
Non fia che disarmi la destra guerriera che forza le dà. (parte con Curio)
At the flash of the arms this warrior's weapon
revenge will do.
Do not let me disagree with the warlike right that forces you. (part with Curio)