Giulio Cesare in Egitto

Nov 20, 2005 10:05 pm
In looking for the source of Handel’s opera Giulio Cesare in Egitto one might think of Shakespeare but the action of the opera takes place earlier than the events in either of Shakespeare’s Cleopatra plays, Julius Caesar and Anthony and Cleopatra. Plutarch comes to mind, he was widely read at the time, but the tone and details do not fit the opera. As it turns out the source is much more mundane and obscure.

“The libretto for Handel’s Julius Caesar by Nicola Francesco Haym was adapted from renditions of the story popular in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Far from the dark tale of shadowy morality and political intrigue concocted by William Shakespeare less than a century earlier, it is a simple heroic narrative in which the put-upon Cleopatra is saved from the clutches of her evil brother Ptolemy by the dashing Caesar… Its straightforward plot and easily recognizable, clearly defined characters without psychological complexity made it ideal for the opera format favored most by this composer.”

http://www.culturevulture.net/Opera/GiulioCesare.htm

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~ by severalfourmany on November 20, 2005.

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