Beijing Music Festival – Forbidden City Concert Hall – October 17th – 7h30 PM
Shenzhen – Ping Shang Theatre – October 19th - 8 PM
« (…) En suivant cette route, Xerxès trouva un platane qui lui parut si beau, qu’il le fit orner de colliers et de bracelets d’or, et qu’il en confia la garde à un Immortel. » Hérodote – Histoires (Livre VII, v.XXXI)
Handel’s opera Serse, composed in 1738 at the end of the composers operatic career, is one his most celebrated scores and reveals his ability to conjure both powerful emotions and to make us laugh. The plot, based on an old Venetian libretto by Nicolo Minatois, is similar to that of a soap-opera: two brothers and two sisters who love and hate each other, a quarrel, jealousy and disguise in the lavish Persian court of the young and flamboyant king Xerxes. In his score, Händel mixes wit with passion. The arias are heartbreakingly beautiful and outrageously comic.
He also introduces two "commedia dell'arte" characters, the servant Elviro (and his hilarious "Chi voler fiora") and the old general Ariodate.
Händel's Serse has reached immortality with the beautiful "Ombra mai fu".
This aria, set in the opening scene of the opera, ironically has the triumphant Serse singing a bucolic melody to a tree.
The fact that before Händel, the composers Cavalli and Bononcini set the same words to iconic music must have inspired Händel in many ways.
Serse – Adèle Charvet
Arsamene – William Shelton
Romilda – Dania El Zein
Atalanta – Raffaela Lintl
Amastre – Anne-Lise Polchlopek
Ariodate – Adrien Fournaison
Elviro – Olivier Gourdy