Signs and Messages of Love in performing Handel´s Giulio Cesare

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Signs and messages of love in performing Handel´s Opera Giulio Cesare

By studying metaphors of love in Handel´s Giulio Cesare in Egitto, I will introduce how it is depicted by the arias of the protagonists, via Cleopatra´s and Caesar´s musical relations, as a prevailing message. The atmospheric tone paintings set to the musical highlights of the protagonist arias answer the following questions: how is love defined in Giulio Cesare in Egitto? What kind of musical signs and metaphors of love are there in use and to be found? What will these signs tell us and how will they communicate the message of the work through various performance interpretations of it? Love is an essential theme in Giulio Cesare because the arias` foci are interlocked by the affectual tensions.

Handel composed the opera to Nicola Haym´s libretto which in turn was based on a Venetian opera by Antonio Sartorio and Francesco Bussani produced 47 years before. Bussani´s version utilized some historical sources related to Caesar´s biographies (by Suetonius, Plutarch and Hirtius) in the background. Instead of treating the political intriguing as the main theme, both Bussani and Haym chose rather to emphasize the romantic junctions of the storyline in their librettos.

As a framework of the musical analysis, I am applying the theory of affects in music appearing in the writings by Johann Mattheson (especially his Das Neu=Eröffnete Orchestre, The Newly-Reopened Orchestra, 1713). Mattheson grounded his musical theoretical outlines on Classic Aristotelian and Cartesian ideals (established first in Aristotle´s Rhetoric and later in Descartes´ Les passions de l’âme) which relate closely also to performance practices of the work.
Bidragets titel på inmatningsspråkRakkauden merkkejä ja viestejä Händelin Julius Caesarin esityksissä
Titel på gästpublikationProceedings: The Embodiment of Authority: Perspectives on Performances, International Conference, Helsinki, Finland 10-12 September 2010, Department of Doctoral Studies in Musical Performance and Research, Sibelius Academy
RedaktörerTomi Mäkelä, Taina Riikonen, Marjaana Virtanen
Antal sidor22
Utgivningsdatum14 dec 2011
StatusPublicerad - 14 dec 2011
MoE-publikationstypB3 Ej refererad artikel i konferenshandlingar
EvenemangEmbodiment of Authority: Perspectives on Performances - Helsinki, Finland
Varaktighet: 10 sep 201012 sep 2010


  • 6131 Teater, dans, musik, övrig scenkonst

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