Alto from Come To The Opera - Handel, G.F.- Alcina,Chorus of enchanted islanders - arr, for Chamber Chorus & String Quartet by Gerald Manning
HANDEL: Alcina, Chorus of enchanted islanders
The first performance of Handel�s opera Alcina took place at Covent Garden in London on the 16th of April 1735. During this period Handel wrote three operas, which used librettos drawn from Ariosto�s Orlando furioso. This chorus with its gavotte rhythm is very similar to the final chorus of the work, and as Handel composed two completely different versions of this chorus it may not have been used in the actual performance. The similarity of its main theme to the first movement of his F major Organ Concerto op. 4 no. 4 which made it�s appearance in the same year as Alcina is indisputable, and his manuscript shows signs of haste with many discrepancies in the harmonic framework which is very uncharacteristic of Handel. Added to this is the high tessitura of the tenor part.
As the curtain raises the captives of Alcina who is an enchantress and entices heroes into her domain to become her lovers, (after which she changes them into rocks, streams, trees or wild beasts) sing after dramatically witnessing her seduction and seeing her palace appear from the middle of a mountain.
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