Fiddling Around in Handel's "Orlando"

FROM: Dr Phage

TO: L. W. Milam &

I blamed Monteverdi for inventing Opera, but the first official opera, in about 1597, is credited to his colleague Jacopo Peri. It is called "Dafne," and started not only opera as a musical/dramatic fad, but also the Dafne Duck cartoon series.

Maestro Peri worked under the patronage of the Medici family of Florence, from whom you get your name. Speaking of which, here is what Wikipedia has to say about your Florentine namesake: "Lorenzo de' Medici" (1449 - 1492), called "the Magnificent," was more capable of leading and ruling a city; however, he neglected the family banking business, leading to its ultimate ruin." Food for thought indeed.

- - - Dr. Phage

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If you have problems with Monteverdi, you should really try the 43 Handel operas on-line at U-Tube. They are filled with surprises, especially the visuals.

For some reason the Italians, the French and the English cannot resist dressing up Handel's characters in WWI costumes, and in one, you can see some lusty if not androgynous breast-caressing along with other philanderings in William Christie's great version of "Orlando."

The fiddling starts thirty or so minutes into the opera, and continues to pop up throughout. You can find it at

At another point, the tenor --- in his soldier's uniform --- looks on to some carryings-on, and, irritated, sees his love flying out the window.

Speaking of flying out the window, you can't tell me that you don't like the Flying act of "Tosca" where she jumps over the parapet, bellowing all the while.

At least, give us the shephard's solo, "E lucevan le stelle" at the beginning of the last act. It's a dream.

- - - LWM
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