Georg Friedrich Händel
Georg Friedrich Händel
11, 13, 15 February, 2020
Intrigue, cynicism and black humour in the splendour of Baroque opera
Intrigue, slander, deceit, treachery… The machinations of power are dissected against the backdrop of a voluptuous score of exuberant song. “Agrippina”, an opera in three acts first performed in Venice in 1709, tells the story of Nero’s mother as she plots the downfall of the Roman Emperor Claudius and the crowning of her son as emperor, in what is considered Handel’s first operatic masterpiece, the culmination of his fruitful sojourn of study in Italy.
Based on a libretto by the diplomat Cardinal Vincenzo Grimani portraying the immorality, cynicism and bloodthirstiness of Nero, one of history’s dreadful tyrants, G. F. Handel (1685-1759) created one of his most successful works. The libretto was a decisive factor in its success -the critic Mariano Acero states it was “probably the best Handel ever used throughout his career.” Inspired by history, cynical and a degree of humour, it tells the story of Agrippina’s plotting to ensure that Nero, her son by her first marriage, be named as the heir to her second husband, the Emperor Claudius, who originally preferred Otho. The amorous passions which Agrippina inspires among the courtiers, and the intrigues, Machiavellian plots, emotional betrayals and treasonous acts which follow, keep the story lively and maintain dramatic tension.
According to Acero, Handel did not have much time to compose the opera -three weeks, according to Mainwaring, his first biographer- although as often occurs with Handel, around 75% of the music is recycled from his earlier works, or even copied from his teacher Keiser, and it is possible that be began working on it after a trip to Naples in 1708, when he met Grimani, the first Austrian viceroy in the Kingdom. The musical quality and dramatic definition of the characters guaranteed a good reception in Venice, where it was first performed in the Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo, the theatre owned by the librettist Grimani’s family, in December 1709. Many experts have interpreted the libretto by Grimani, a diplomat favouring the Hapsburgs in the War of Spanish Succession, as alluding to the political situation of the time in Italy -according to these theories, Emperor Claudius is a caricature of his political enemy Pope Clement XI, who supported France and Spain. In a country like Italy, which was suffering terribly from the consequences of the War of Spanish Succession, the plot of the opera could seem extremely contemporary.
The Teatro de la Maestranza presents this Baroque opera, “Agrippina”, a cynical but humorous study of the immorality of power which enjoyed great success when it was first performed, with 27 consecutive performances. Later it fell from favour, and was not performed until 1950 as part of the general revival of interest in the European Baroque opera. This is a production by the Oviedo Opera and the Opera Ballet Vlaanderen of Antwerp, one of Europe’s most innovative creative centres. The stage direction of this new production is by Mariame Clément (Paris, 1974), she is acclaimed for her creative imagination and avant-garde vision. A well-known specialist in the field, Enrico Onofri (Ravenna, 1967), formerly the leader of Il Giardino Armonico, conducts the Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla (OBS), an outstanding orchestra which has holds the Premio Nacional de Música. The cast includes prestigious Baroque specialists Ann Hallenberg and Xavier Sabata, ensuring that the opera will be as enjoyable for a general audience as it will for aficionados of Baroque music.
EN TORNO A… Agrippina
With Asociación Sevillana de Amigos de la Ópera (ASAO)
SALA DE PRENSA
10 February, 2020
Sala de prensa (Access via the theatre reception entrance)
Free of charge until complete capacity
11, 13, 15 February, 2020
PRICE LIST A: Friday, Saturday
PRICE LIST B: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday (except before public holidays)
PRICES: PRICE LIST A / PRICE LIST B
Stalls (Patio) 130€ / 120€
Balcony (1ª Balcón) 125€ / 115€
Balcony (2ª Balcón) 112€ / 104€
Terrace (1ª Terraza) 100€ / 93€
Terrace (2ª Terraza) 87€ / 80€
Slips (1ª Paraíso) 80€ / 74€
Slips (2ª Paraíso) 70€ / 62€
Slips (3ª Paraíso) 60€ / 49€
BUY TICKETS ONLINE: 7 October, 2019. Possibility of printing tickets at home using the "ticket en casa" system.
BUY TICKETS AT BOX OFFICE: 7 October, 2019.
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