Alessandro, a Superb Baroque Opera by Händel

Alexander depicted on a Roman mosaic.

Alexander the Great – born 356 BC, Pella (Macedonia), died 323 BC, Babylon, king of Macedonia. He overthrew the Persian empire, marched with his army up to the border of India and laid the foundations for the Hellenistic world of territorial kingdoms. Alessandro (HWV 21) – opera composed by Georg Friederich Händel in 1726 for the Royal Academy of Music. Paolo Rolli’s libretto is based on the story of Ortensio Mauro’s La superbia d’Alessandro. This was the first time the famous singers Faustina Bordoni and Francesca Cuzzoni appeared together in one of Händel’s operas.

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A Romance for an Intimate Circle

© Charles Thibo

I remember that first evening. It was a cold autumn day, and I had nothing to do. I decided to visit a woman I hadn’t seen for a long time. She had bought a house, and I was curious about her, the house and her life in it. It was the very house I live in now, but it looked very different then. The focal point of the living room was a red couch that now serves as a guest bed. And while we sat on that cozy couch, a funny incident in the kitchen made me jump. The woman laughed out loud and before I could say anything, she got up and said: “Dinner is ready!” More laughter.

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Glory to the violin!

Bartok ViolonConcerto2_SW
Strings of Fantasy. © Charles Thibo

If I had to nominate a piece to glorify the violin as an instrument, I would choose Bela Bartok’s Violin Concerto No. 2 (Sz. 112) without hesitation. The first bars the soloist gets to play in the first movement constitute an unmistakable signature of Bartok’s work and at the same time a highly condensed statement of the composer’s origin, the Romantic era. Of course, all of the following bars point towards the evolution of Music, Bartok the pioneer, Bartok the innovator, Bartok the fusion artist takes over from Bartok the Traditionalist. I truly love this piece!

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Glass and the Twin Sisters in Four Movements

glass 4 movements_edited-2
Switched on. © Charles Thibo

This was so cool! Expect the unexpected, they say, and I try to, but I did not expect an encore to beat a full concert. No way. Quite a surprise and a good one with that. It made me vibrate the whole evening and eclipsed what I had heard before and after in such a way that I downloaded the piece during the break and listened to it one more time while driving home from the concert. And the following day I must have listened to it at least four or five more times.

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