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Donald Burrows

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199737369

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199737369.001.0001

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The Transitional Decade I

The Transitional Decade I

Competition, 1732–7

(p.211) Chapter Eight The Transitional Decade I

Donald Burrows

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines George Frideric Handel's career as the general manager of The King's Theatre, where he made his first attempts at transition from writing Italian opera to English oratorio. Handel's first English oratorio, Esther, was performed in 1732 where he indicated in advertisements that there was to be a lack of stage action. This element, combined with the music of the opera stars and the grand anthem style used in the coronation anthems sung in English, created the recipe for his future theatre career. The chapter concludes by describing his rivalry with the Opera of the Nobility group and his programme at Covent Garden in 1737 which was a repertory of twelve works: eight operas and four oratorios. The programme proved to be the end for the Opera of the Nobility but was also dangerous as Handel's health gave way towards the end of the season.

Keywords:   Royal Academy of Music, George Frideric Handel, Italian opera, English oratorio, Esther, stage action, Opera of the Nobility, Covent Garden

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