MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Handel’s Witty, Urbane, Subversive Art: Staging Partenope

One more chance to see this Partenope production: on Sunday afternoon. If you’re in the Bay Area, try to catch this — it’s worth it.

MEMETERIA by Thomas May


My new essay for San Francisco Opera, where Christopher Alden’s award-winning production of Partenopeopens this week.

Handel’s Witty, Urbane, Subversive Art: Staging Partenope

Even adjusted for inflation, his operas are now doing far better box office (255 years after his death) than he could have ever wished at the height of his career.

No doubt George Frideric Handel — as the German-born Georg Friedrich Händel rebranded himself in his adoptive hometown of London — would have relished the irony. Only a sensibility finely attuned to the ironic could have created the delicious blend of erotic longing and satire that defines his treatment of Partenope.

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