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Hyperion Records

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Stadt Hamburg in der Elbe Auen (c1700). Anonymous
AKG London
Track(s) taken from CDH55324
Recording details: December 1997
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: October 1998
Total duration: 13 minutes 24 seconds

'A marvellous disc' (The Independent)

'A highly entertaining collection. Delightful rarities from the young Handel' (Classic CD)

'The disc is warmly commended' (Fanfare, USA)

Almira, HWV1
composer
late 1704; first performed at the Goosemarket Theatre, Hamburg, 8 January 1705; suite reconstructed by Peter Holman
author of text
author of text
after Giulio Pancieri

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Almira was written late in 1704 and first produced at the Goosemarket Theatre in Hamburg on 8 January 1705. The libretto was intended for Keiser and actually set to music by him, but he seems to have been forced to leave Hamburg for a while before the opera could be produced. Handel was asked to provide a new setting so that the scenes and costumes already in preparation would not be wasted. Handel’s score is preserved in a slightly incomplete manuscript used by Telemann for a revival in 1732. The manuscript contains two overtures, the original in B flat being supplemented by a second in G minor. Chrysander did not include it in his edition of Almira, probably because he thought it was one of Telemann’s additions, but Handel’s authorship is confirmed by Tim Crawford’s discovery of an arrangement for lute, attributed to Handel and dating from around 1712, and by Handel’s reuse of the music in other contexts. The opening bars reappear in the Sinfonia that begins his Chandos anthem The Lord is my Light (1717/18), while the themes of the Allegro are reworked in the overture to The Triumph of Time and Truth (1757, but perhaps based on an earlier model).

The libretto of Almira was translated and adapted by F C Feustking from an earlier libretto by Giulio Pancieri, but fifteen of the arias were left in the original Italian. It is a comic opera, full of complex court intrigues surrounding the love between Almira, Queen of Castile, and Fernando, her private secretary—a love that cannot be admitted by either of them, as Almira is contracted to marry a son of her old counsellor and Fernando is believed to be an orphan of lowly birth. Needless to say, it is eventually revealed that he has the appropriate parentage and all ends well, but not before he has been condemned to death because Almira mistakenly believes he is having an affair with someone else. In ‘Vedrai s’ a tuo dispetto’ she gives vent to jealous rage: the vocal line has the hectic brilliance found in several arias in this opera, but here especially apt to the dramatic sense.

from notes by Anthony Hicks © 1996

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'Handel: Opera Arias' (CDS44271/3)
Handel: Opera Arias
MP3 £15.00FLAC £15.00ALAC £15.00Buy by post £16.50 CDS44271/3  3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Handel: Opera Arias and Overtures, Vol. 1' (CDA66860)
Handel: Opera Arias and Overtures, Vol. 1
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66860  Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3  
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