Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Dean, Winton. "Handel's 'Sosarme,' a Puzzle Opera." In Essays on Opera and English Music in Honour of Sir Jack Westrup, ed. Frederick William Sternfeld, Nigel Fortune, and Edward Olleson, 115-47. Oxford: Blackwell, 1975.

The performance history of Handel's opera Sosarme, completed in 1732, is complicated because of the changes made before the first performances and for the 1734 revival. The setting and character names had to be changed during the initial composition process for political reasons. Cuts to the music and libretto also made at this time caused the plot's coherence to suffer greatly. This led to negative reactions to the drama, but the music was still well received. Many arias in the 1732 version resemble many of Handel's earlier works in general stylistic traits, but several are specific reworkings of previous material. Handel had to make many additional changes for his 1734 revival in order to accommodate the differences in voice ranges and talent of the two completely different casts. In addition to transposing much of the opera into alternate keys and cutting arias, Handel made changes to showcase the great skill of Carlo Scalzi in the role of Argone. He inserted the arias "Corro per ubbidirvi" and "Quell'orror delle procelle" from Riccardo Primo specifically for Scalzi's voice, reworking them slightly to fit the plot.

Works: Handel: Sosarme (125, 132-33, 144-45).

Sources: Handel: Riccardo Primo (125), Admeto (132-3), Giulio Cesare (133), La Bianca Rosa (133), Aci, Galatea e Polifemo (144-45).

Index Classifications: 1700s

Contributed by: Danielle Nelson

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