One of Handel's rare ventures into comedy, Xerxes parodies the conventions of opera seria. Love triangles, swaggering heroism, and all manner of operatic pretensions receive a playful tweaking. Handel's subtle humor never descends into farce, however, and the work possesses all the dramatic in... read more
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One of Handel's rare ventures into comedy, Xerxes parodies the conventions of opera seria. Love triangles, swaggering heroism, and all manner of operatic pretensions receive a playful tweaking. Handel's subtle humor never descends into farce, however, and the work possesses all the dramatic intensity and depth of character portrayal found in a serious opera. Based on a real-life emperor, Xerxes I, the story's setting is in fifth-century Persia. The complex plot departs from the historical record to weave a romantic rivalry between the ruler and his handsome brother, replete with intrigue: a misplaced love letter, disguises, and mistaken identities. Throughout the tale's vicissitudes, Handel moves smoothly from drama to comedy and back, using arias with an unprecedented degree of fluidity. Musicians will find this full-score edition of Handel's innovative work an authoritative, practical,and economical resource.
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