|George Frideric Handel|
Almira, Königin von Castilien (HWV 1) ("Almira, Queen of Castile") (Full title: Der in Krohnen erlangte Glücks-Wechsel, oder: Almira, Königin von Castilien) is George Frideric Handel's first opera. It was first performed in Hamburg in January 1705.
Handel came to the city of Hamburg in the summer of 1703 and played as a violinist in the theatre at the Gänsemarkt, the local market place. On later occasions, he also played the harpsichord in the orchestra. His first opera – announced as a Singspiel although it has no spoken dialogue – had its premiere on 8 January 1705 under the direction of Reinhard Keiser, so it is presumed that it must have been composed in the months directly preceding this.
An Italian libretto was written by Giulio Pancieri in Venice in 1691 for Giuseppe Boniventi's opera L'Almira. The German translation used by Handel was made by Christian Feustking. While most of the recited parts and arias are sung in German, some remain untranslated.
Almira was a resounding success. The opera was performed twenty times in total until its place was taken by Handel's next opera, Nero, the music of which has not been preserved.
The first modern performance of Almira took place on the 23 February 1985, in Leipzig, Städtische Oper.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 8 January 1705
(Conductor: - )
|Almira, Queen of Castilia||soprano||Conradin|
|Edilia, a Princess||soprano||Barbara Keiser|
|Consalvo, Almira's guardian||bass||Gottfried Grünewald|
|Osman, his son||tenor||Johann Konrad Dreyer|
|Fernando, an orphan||tenor||Johann Mattheson|
|Raymondo, King of Mauretania||bass||Gottfried Grünewald|
|Bellante, Princess of Aranda||soprano||Rischmüller|
In 1732 the piece was once more performed in a version edited by Georg Philipp Telemann.
In 1879 Franz Liszt composed a transcription of the Sarabande and Chaconne from the opening act of this opera for his English piano student Walter Bache. Noted by critics as one of the most striking of Liszt's late paraphrases as well as his only setting of a baroque piece from his late period, this work is said to anticipate Ferruccio Busoni's late-romantic settings of Bach. Australian Liszt scholar and pianist Leslie Howard has recorded this work as part of Hyperion Records' complete Liszt series.
- 1994: Andrew Lawrence-King (conductor); Fiori musicali; Ann Monoyios (Almira), Linda Gerrard (Bellante), David Thomas (Consalvo), Patricia Rosario (Edilia), Jamie MacDougall (Fernando), Douglas Nasrawi (Osman), Olaf Haye (Raymondo), Christian Elsner (Tabarco). Studio recording with German recitatives and Italian arias (CPO 999275)
- Baker, James M., ed. Kenneth Hamilton, "A survey of the late piano works," The Cambridge Companion to Liszt (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005). ISBN 0-521-64462-3 (paperback).
- Dean, Winton; Knapp, J. Merrill (1987). Handel's Operas, 1704-1726. Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-315219-3 The first of the two volume definitive reference on the operas of Handel.
- Lang, Paul Henry, George Frideric Handel
- Scheibler, Albert, Sämtliche 53 Bühnenwerke des Georg Friedrich Händel