Home > Música Erudita > George Frideric Handel – Largo

George Frideric Handel – Largo

July 10th, 2012

Serse (Xerxes, HWV 40) is an opera seria in three acts by George Frideric Handel.

It was first performed in London on 15 April 1738. The Italian libretto was adapted by an unknown hand from that by Silvio Stampiglia for an earlier opera of the same name by Giovanni Bononcini in 1694. Stampiglia’s libretto was itself based on one by Nicolò Minato that was set by Francesco Cavalli in 1654.

The opera is set in Persia (modern day Iran) in 480 BC and is very loosely based upon Xerxes I of Persia, though there is little in either the libretto or music that is relevant to that setting. Xerxes, originally sung by a castrato, is now generally performed by a mezzo-soprano, contralto or countertenor. Although the English title Xerxes is widely used, the original Italian title was Serse.

The opening aria, “Ombra mai fu“, sung by Xerxes to a tree (Platanus orientalis), is set to one of Handel’s best-known melodies, and is often played in an orchestral arrangement, known as Handel’s “largo” (despite being marked “larghetto” in the score). (Wikipedia)

The London Symphony Orchestra

Pipe Organ

Cello and Organ

Overture and “Ombra mai fu”

Categories: Música Erudita Tags:
Comments are closed.