Hyperion Records

Alessandro, HWV21
composer
completed 11 April 1726; first performed at the King's Theatre, London, on 5 May 1726
author of text
after Ortensio Mauro's La superbia d'Alessandro

Recordings
'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: The Rival Queens' (CDA66950)
Handel: The Rival Queens
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66950  Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3  
Details
Act 1 No 1: Overture
Track 1 on CDA66950 [5'04] Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3
Track 1 on CDS44271/3 CD2 [5'04] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Act 1 No 2: Sinfonia
Track 2 on CDA66950 [2'17] Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3
Track 2 on CDS44271/3 CD2 [2'17] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Act 1. Aria: No, pi¨ soffrir non voglio (Lisaura)
Track 4 on CDA66950 [3'34] Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3
Track 4 on CDS44271/3 CD2 [3'34] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Act 1. Aria: Placa l'alma (Rossane/Lisaura)
Track 5 on CDA66950 [2'34] Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3
Track 5 on CDS44271/3 CD2 [2'34] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Act 1. Recitative: Che vidi? Che mirai! (Lisaura/Rossane)
Track 3 on CDA66950 [1'38] Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3
Track 3 on CDS44271/3 CD2 [1'38] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Act 2. Aria: Aure, fonti, ombre gradite (Rossane)
Track 7 on CDA66950 [3'32] Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3
Track 7 on CDS44271/3 CD2 [3'32] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Act 2. Aria: Che tirannia d'amor! (Lisaura)
Track 9 on CDA66950 [6'51] Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3
Track 9 on CDS44271/3 CD2 [6'51] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Act 2. Aria: Dica il falso, dica il vero (Rossane)
Track 11 on CDA66950 [4'31] Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3
Track 11 on CDS44271/3 CD2 [4'31] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Act 2. Recitative: Pur troppo veggio d'Alessandro il core (Lisaura)
Track 8 on CDA66950 [0'21] Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3
Track 8 on CDS44271/3 CD2 [0'21] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Act 2. Recitative: Solitudine amate (Rossane)
Track 6 on CDA66950 [2'19] Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3
Track 6 on CDS44271/3 CD2 [2'19] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Act 2. Recitative: Svanisci oh reo timore (Rossane)
Track 10 on CDA66950 [0'26] Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3
Track 10 on CDS44271/3 CD2 [0'26] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Alessandro, HWV21
EnglishFranšaisDeutsch
Handel completed the score of Alessandro on 11 April 1726 and directed its first performance at the King’s Theatre in the Haymarket on 5 May. He had begun composing it a couple of months earlier, but Faustina’s delayed arrival in London had forced him to put it aside and compose Scipione to meet the expected quota of new operas in the season. (Scipione used some music originally composed for Alessandro.) Rolli’s libretto is based on Ortensio Mauro’s La superbia d’Alessandro, produced with music by Steffani at Hanover in 1690. The largely fictional story is set in the period of Alexander’s Indian campaign. After the Overture (in the usual two-section form, but with an exceptionally lively Allegro in which the oboes are given some independence) Act I opens with Alessandro (Alexander) leading an assault on the walled city of Oxydraca (a fictional place, the supposed capital of the Oxydracae tribe). The wall is breached with a battering ram, and Alessandro is first to enter the city, at great danger to himself. The Sinfonia represents the ensuing battle. All this is witnessed by the two princesses, Rossane (Roxana) and Lisaura, who express their love and their fears for their hero in an ingenious accompanied recitative in which neither voice predominates over the other. Right from the start Handel shows that he is going to give equal opportunities to the two sopranos, a policy to which he and his fellow composers had to adhere for all the remaining Academy operas.

Alessandro’s military success is acclaimed. He looks forward to the pleasures of love after the pleasures of conquest, and turns first to Rossane. Lisaura’s annoyance is not appeased when he attempts to embrace her as well, and she angrily declares she will no longer put up with what she regards as his betrayal of her love.

Alessandro’s vanity extends to a claim that he is the son of the god Jupiter, and when one of his captains objects to this absurdity, Alessandro strikes him to the ground. Shocked, the two women unite in an attempt to calm Alessandro’s rage. The opening theme of their duet is similar to that of the last movement of the Recorder Sonata in C, Op 1 No 7.

Act II begins with Rossane alone in a garden, uncertain whether it is her or Lisaura whom Alessandro really loves. The music, with a full complement of woodwind (recorders, oboes and bassoons) begins with an atmospheric prelude leading into an accompanied recitative. The aria following is broken up with more recitative, and at the end Rossane sinks into a troubled sleep.

Lisaura has a more faithful lover than Alessandro in the person of the Indian King Tassile. He tries to persuade her that Alessandro will abandon her in favour of Rossane, but Lisaura says that her love for Alessandro is too strong for her to relinquish it, despite the torment it brings her. Her aria is in the style of a mournful siciliana, full of despair.

Meanwhile Alessandro’s high-handedness has provoked a conspiracy to assassinate him, and it is only by luck that he escapes being killed by the deliberately engineered collapse of the canopy above his throne. Rossane faints, convincing Alessandro of the depth of her love for him. His heart is all hers, he says, and she, left alone at the end of the Act, looks forward to being united with him.

from notes by Anthony Hicks ę 1997

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA66950 track 11
Act 2, Aria: Dica il falso, dica il vero (Rossane)
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-96-95011
Duration
4'31
Recording date
4 January 1997
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Handel: The Rival Queens (CDA66950)
    Disc 1 Track 11
    Release date: September 1997
    Deletion date: May 2006
    Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3
  2. Handel: Opera Arias (CDS44271/3)
    Disc 2 Track 11
    Release date: September 2007
    3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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