Händel, Georg Friedrich
Giulio Cesare in Egitto HWV 17
Opera in three acts
-Handel’s most frequently performed opera
-Offering a well-founded insight into Handel’s work methods when designing and redevising his characters
-A reliable scholarly-critical edition granting orientation with regard to the complex source situation
-With an extensive Foreword (Ger/Eng)
Edition no.
BA 10720-01
Volume / Series
Halle Handel Edition (HHA) II/14.1+2
Clausen, Hans Dieter
Instrumentation of the work
Soloists, Orchestra
Orchestral scoring
2S-solo,3A-solo,CA-solo,B-solo / 2(Flauto dolce),2,2,0,2–4,1,0,0 – Str – Bc
Language(s) of work
Language(s) of text
German, English
Product format
Complete edition, Score, Urtext edition
Pages / Format
XCVII, 495 S. - 33,0 x 26,5 cm
“Giulio Cesare in Egitto” is by far Handel’s most frequently performed opera owing its success not least to its subject matter, one of the best known love stories in world history. Already during Handel’s lifetime the popular work was often staged and therefore adapted by Handel for each of the performance conditions. The editor Hans Dieter Clausen has succeeded in editorially defining and practically presenting these adaptations – essentially four versions – on the basis of a meticulous study of the sources within the framework of the “Halle Handel Edition”. The new edition allows for a performance of each of the four versions. The version of 1725 is particularly noteworthy because Handel newly devised the role of Sesto for the famous tenor Francesco Borosini.

The libretto shows the Roman dictator Cesar in a friendly light. He instructs his enemy, the Egyptian tyrant Tolomeo, how to treat adversaries; he reconciles the widow and son of his enemy Pompeo who was murdered by Tolomeo; he is generous and just, hands on, but also diplomatic, thoughtful, aware of the limits of his power, and susceptible for art and nature. However, the actual protagonist of the opera is Cleopatra. In a masterly way Handel develops her character musically.

In his extensive Foreword Hans Dieter Clausen not only decribes the genesis, historical background, reception and the edition of the opera, he also examines the musical and dramaturgical reworking of individual numbers in “Giulio Cesare”. Handel was such an expert in adapting arias for new purposes and other characters that he did not only meet the needs at hand but often the new version surpassed the original. In this way, the reader gains, in passing, a well-founded insight into Handel’s work methods when designing and redevising his characters. The detailed Critical Commentary includes information on the comprehensive and highly complex source situation as well as on individual editorial decisions.
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