For the creation of Serse in 1738, Handel called upon the castrato Caffarelli for the title-role, the soprano Francesina (Elisabeth Duparc) and the bass Montagna, a team that had already often charmed London audiences.
But this was a new type of work for Handel, in line with the fashion of the moment, with alternating tragic and comic moments, intended to regain a public Handel was otherwise conquering with his oratorios in English. Serse is the composer’s last Italian opera masterpiece; from then on he would compose oratorios.
Serse, King of Persia’s love affairs build the narrative thread of an intrigue with political and witty turns and twists (including dressing up) for which Handel has composed many of his finest arias, expressing a great variety of feelings and strongly serving the title-role. Franco Fagioli dons Serse’s costume and inhabits Caffarelli’s vocal fireworks, wonderfully partnered by the delightful Vivica Genaux and Francesca Aspromonte. Expect a festival!
Franco Fagioli, "Se Bramate d'amar chi vi sdegna", Serse, Handel
GEORG FRIEDRICH HANDEL (1685 - 1759)
Dramma per musica in 3 acts on a libretto after Niccolo Minato and Silvio Stampiglia.
Created on 15 April 1738 in London.