Saturday, October 17, 2009


Radio New Zealand Concert network
Sunday 18th of October 2009 at 3 - 5.30 pm

PRELUDE (Wikipedia)
PREVIEW (pictures and story)
HISTORY (Attila and Huns)
HISTORY (Flavius Aetius)

HANDEL: Ezio, an opera in three acts (1732)
Ezio ............................. Yosemeh Adjei
Fulvia ........................... Netta Or
Valentiniano ................. Mariselle Martinez
Onoria ......................... Hilke Andersen
Massimo ...................... Donát Havár
Varo ............................ Marcell Bakonyi
Basel CO/Attilio Cremonesi
(recorded at the Rococo Theatre,
Schwetzingen by German Radio, Stuttgart)

This is one of Handel's failures, if measured by the mere handful of performances (exactly 5) it had in 1732. Some blame the public disregard for it on its romanticism, imposed on a serious classical form (opera seria). Its libretto was the work of the prolific Pietro Metastasio. The striking feature is that the only components are recitative and aria, with no duets or quartets, trios or sextets; there is one chorus, at the very end (they must have sat around smoking and playing cards behind the scenes, though they could also have been the army and the populace at the start). A feast of good music, a dessert that does not deserve to be left unserved in the kitchen (not mixed metaphors!).

This one gives the lie to the calumny that Handel composed the same opera about fifty times.

There is a strong similarity to Mozart's Tito, The Clemency of, with an assassination plot against the Emperor (here Valentinian) and rivalry over a woman (Fulvia), and finally a happy resolution. However, in real life Aetius defeated Attila in 451, Valentinian murdered Aetius in 454 (born around 390), and in 455 Maximus (Massimo) had the Emperor assassinated by two Huns. (By the way, Huns were not Germanic but apparently Turkic).

A note about librettos
Our usual free source (KARADAR) must now be accessed with the abbreviation for Italy added to the address (.it) instead of .com (which now takes you to their 'shop'). This has wrecked all my older links!
The opera Ezio is not on their list, but a pdf is available from the Wikipedia article (PRELUDE). It has three dozen pages, so I copied it onto a document, put the text into two columns, played around with it to save more space, and reduced it to 15 pages.


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