Giulio Cesare in Egitto, Opera by G. F. Handel
George Frideric Handel’s prolonged British period was a fruitful and significant time in his career. One of the cornerstones of his time in London was Giulio Cesare in Egitto, an opera seria in three acts, full of memorable arias and remarkable dramatic action. Handel used an Italian libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym and worked under commission from the Royal Academy of Music. Giulio Cesare in Egitto had its inaugural performance at the King’s Theatre on 20 February 1724 and enjoyed universal praise. Through the centuries, it has remained one of the regularly revived Baroque operas. Audiences at Vienna State Opera will have the special pleasure of witnessing another modern production of this old classic.
Giulio Cesare in Egitto, or Julius Caesar in Egypt in English, focuses on the fateful time the leader of Rome visited Egypt and met the enthralling Cleopatra. The plot has it all: the flashy battles and action sequences, the political intrigue between Cleopatra and her brother Tolomeo on the one side and Caesar on the other, all mixed up with the budding love between the Egyptian would-be queen and the Roman ruler. It all begins with Caesar’s pursuit of Pompeo, an old enemy, who falls victim to the short-tempered boy king Tolomeo. Caesar quickly makes enemies with the Egyptian kind as well, but Pompeo’s son Sesto, seeking to avenge his father’s gruesome death, will prove a vital ally. In the end, love and justice find a way to prevail, but the path to the grand finale is winding and exciting at every turn.
Giulio Cesare in Egitto features some of Handel's most famous arias, including ‘Va tacito e nascosto’, ‘Piangerò la sorte mia’, and ‘Da tempeste il legno infranto’. Handel's masterful use of vocal and instrumental melody captures the emotional depth of the characters and their conflicts. The opera's themes of love, power, and betrayal still resonate with audiences today, making Giulio Cesare in Egitto a beloved classic of the repertoire.