Arts > Rodelinda

06 March 2014 | by Robert Thicknesse



Asurprising void exists in our knowledge of Handel: we haven’t the faintest idea whether he had a love life of any description. Nonetheless, he wrote some of the most sincere music of the heart ever made, and in Rodelinda, premiered in 1725 when he was 39 at the end of a year that had already produced Giulio Cesare and Tamerlano, he composed a hymn to grown-up married love that is often compared to Beethoven’s Fidelio (written by another famously unmarried man). Opera, in general, is pretty inimical to marriage, and depictions of mature love are vanishingly rare. The personnel of Rodelinda are middle-aged, a breed which usually exists only as comic spinsters and disposable rulers, never as romantic interest. It’s altogether very refreshing that Handel took this unsexy id


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