George Frideric Handel - Alcina

The castrato Giovanni Carestini, for whom Handel wrote the role of Ruggiero in Alcina, was said to have been less than pleased when he first set eyes on the aria ‘Verdi prati’: how could there be such a lack of virtuosity for a star like him? Handel did well when he refused Carestini’s demand for a new aria: audiences at the very first performances routinely clamoured for ‘Verdi prati’ to be repeated. Today, it is one of Handel’s most famous arias, in one of his most arresting operas.

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June 2019
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