Many Classical music lovers are familiar with George Frideric Handel's famous oratorio, “Messiah,” but are not aware his preferred area of composition was Italian opera seria. Biographical books explore his career as an opera composer and the rise of the new pious genre when Italian opera was no longer popular in London, but rarely do we find detailed accounts or discussions on that tempestuous period in the 1730s when this shift in populaity forced Handel to leave the Haymarket theatre and join with John Rich at Covent Garden where he tried to carry on the Royal Academy opera company in competition with the new Opera of the Nobility venture founded by the Prince of Wales before he was finally forced to abandon opera in favour of oratorio. This book explores this rocky transition period and how it affected Handel's work, namely, his inclusion of French elements to his operas and other novel innovations in order to regain his chagrined public. There are discussions exploring the possibility Handel was his own worse enemy with regards to his business decisions as impresario-composer, alienating the Italians of London and his public, which nearly cost him his career. A fascinating study for Handel admirers.
..". There were so many details raised and questions asked which make the reader really excited and interested in the period and what was happening. ... There are many, many details which just suddenly bring home to you, 'My goodness, (opera production) was different in those days ' ... There are many things that jumped out of this book at me ..." - David Adams, 'Into the Evening', Lyric FM Classical Music Radio Ireland