Arts > Native son

19 June 2014 | by Robert Thicknesse

Native son

Nothing reminds you that opera is alien to England quite like a trip to somewhere it is truly native. ­Germany is modern Europe’s true operatic homeland; dozens of state-funded opera houses, a native tradition stretching back unbroken to the seventeenth century and the ingrained idea that music should be a ­serious moral and philosophical force make it the only place where opera is genuinely taken seriously.Although German-speaking composers from Heinrich Schütz through Mozart to Wagner and beyond created native forms, Germany always welcomed composers from beyond the Alps, and generated its own Italian-language opera: there was no greater master of Italian opera in the early eighteenth century than Handel.Handel left Germany at the age of 20, first to learn his trade i


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