George Frideric Handel
Franco Fagioli brings his full talent to bear on a rare piece of Handel occupying the middle ground between tragedy and comedy.
Franco Fagioli Serse
Inga Kalna Romilda
Vivica Genaux Arsamene
Francesca Aspromonte Atalanta
Delphine Galou Amastre
Andreas Wolf Ariodate
Biagio Pizzuti Elviro
Maxim Emelyanychev direction and harpsichord
Il Pomo d’Oro
Sung in Italian with French and English subtitles
Serse is one of the final operas by the composer, who sensed from his experience as a theatre director that the genre which had brought him fame was gradually starting to pall with audiences. He would therefore turn to the oratorio form and Serse heralds this final genre. The work was produced in 1738, but was only performed five times before sinking into oblivion for nearly two centuries. It includes the very famous largo “Ombra mai fu” which we now know owes a greater debt to Bononcini (who composed a Serse in Rome in 1694 ) than to Handel. Handel reworked the libretto originally written for Cavalli, but fortunately preserved the spirit of the piece which is typical of Venetian opera with its blend of comic and tragic scenes. Serse is rarely performed or recorded but deserves to be rediscovered.
Production Théâtre des Champs-Elysées