Opera Settecento was founded in 2014 by the modern equivalent of an 18th century consortium, very much in the manner of Handel’s Royal Academy of Music (formed 1719) which presented opera in the Italian style at the King’s Theatre, Haymarket.
Our mission is to perform less familiar opera seria from the first half of the 18th century. In this endeavour we are led by the energy and expertise of our Artistic Director, Leo Duarte, a renowned Baroque and Classical oboist whose enthusiasm for the music of Handel and his contemporaries has led him to resurrect many neglected scores of the period from manuscript sources. (His edition of the Brockes Passion has received great acclaim.) For Opera Settecento he has produced performing editions of three Handel pasticcii, enabling us to give the modern premieres of Elpidia, Ormisda and Venceslao at both the London and Halle Handel Festivals. Another unjustly neglected work we performed at Cadogan Hall was Hasse Demetrio which featured a libretto by Italy’s finest poet of the era, Metastasio. Published rarities we have performed include Pergolesi Adriano in Siria, Vivaldi Griselda and Handel Amadigi di Gaula. In 2020 we will give the modern premiere of the new critical edition of Handel Fernando.
We have begun a programme of researching 18th century operatic singing, which is an attempt to bring the art of opera seria singing into line with forty years of development in performing on period instruments. We are beginning with gesture and will add a dance element as well as taking a fresh look at the timbre and sonority of an 18th century voice. Our dream is to offer a training programme for singers who wish to acquire expertise in performing opera seria.
We would like to present one rare opera a year at our own risk in addition to our festival performances. We are also hoping to release recordings of arias and operas which haven’t seen the light of day for almost 300 years and which aren’t available from any other source. If you love the fireworks of Farinelli or the soothing tones of Senesino, please join our list of supporters and consider an annual donation.
AMINTA E FILLIDE
G. F. HANDEL
London Handel Festival
Wednesday 1st April, 2020
St George’s Hanover Square
Friday 5th June, 2020
The Franckesche Stiftungen (Francke Foundation), Halle, Germany