Opera Tickets Italy

    Giulio Cesare In Egitto, Opera by G. F. Handel

    Giulio Cesare In Egitto, Opera by G. F. Handel

    As a perfect illustration of Baroque’s fascination with grand historical narratives, the opera Julius Caesar in Egypt by George Frideric Handel tackles the epic encounter between two great ancient empires, Rome and Egypt. The incendiary romance between Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, mixed in with their political ambitions and the lives they must trample in order to achieve them, make the opera a transporting experience that pulls audiences in. Handel created Giulio Cesare in Egitto, as the original Italian title goes, for the Royal Academy of Music in London. It was first performed at the King’s Theatre in 1724. Since then, the opera has enjoyed regular revivals, making it one of the most often performed musical dramas from the Baroque period. This season, Teatro Costanzi in Rome puts on an exciting performance of the old classic.

    The drama of Julius Caesar in Egypt is based on librettist Nicola Francesco Haym’s interpretation of the historical events of the Roman Civil War. Caesar’s pursuit of Pompeo, a Roman general turned rival, takes him to Egypt where he meets and falls in love with Cleopatra. Her brother, the boy king Tolomeo, executes Pompeo unceremoniously, drawing everyone’s wrath. The murdered general’s wife Cornelia and his son Sesto seek vengeance. Meanwhile, Cleopatra sees this as an opportunity to usurp her brother’s throne, and the enamoured Julius Caesar follows his heart to support his newly found lover in her endeavour. Will love and freedom triumph over tyranny?

    Musically, Julius Caesar in Egypt ranks among Handel’s finest operatic efforts. The main characters Caesar and Cleopatra’s arias are rich and technically challenging while still supremely melodic and catchy. Cornelia and Sesto’s vocal lines, on the other hand, reflect their simpler emotional canvas, firmly centred on anger and revenge. The orchestration, complete with Baroque instruments like the theorbo, the transverse flute, or the viola da gamba, is similarly elaborate and creative. At Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, one of the most exciting periods in ancient history receives Handel’s special treatment. The transformation of Rome from a republic into an empire arguably never sounded so powerful.

    image Rome Opera House / Silvia Lelli / Teatro dell'Opera di Roma