Barocksolisten München :: Programms

When loves soft passion – Arias and Sonatas for Soprano, Flute und Basso Continuo

"When loves soft passion" offers a colourful mix of instrumental and vocal music.
Alongside flute sonatas, arrangements of “hits” from Handel’s great works for flute and continuo and an opulent-sounding chaconne for harpsichord we present cantatas with obligato instrumental accompaniment. One particular jewel is the aria “Falsa Imagine” from the opera “Ottone Re di Germania” which is associated with one of the most famous anecdotes about Handel: in his biography of Handel Johann Mattheson records Handel’s dispute with the prima donna Francesca Cuzzoni who refused to sing this aria:
“One day Handel got into an argument with Mme Cuzzoni because she didn’t want to sing the aria “Falsa imagine” in the opera “Ottone”. “Oh, Madam,” he said, “I’m sure you’re a she-devil incarnate, but I’m telling you that I’m Beelzebub, chief of all the devils.” And with that he grasped her round the middle, swearing that he would throw her out of the window if she said any more.”
According to Charles Burney it was this very aria that eventually became Mme Cuzzoni’s party piece.
Burney also tells us that Johann Christoph Pepusch was seen by later generations first and foremost as Handel’s great rival on the London opera scene, even though no reports have come down to us about any personal animosity between the two men. The success of “The Beggar’s Opera”, for which Pepusch hardly composed anything beyond the overture, overshadows his other compositions – unjustifiably so as, for example, his charming cantata “When loves soft passion” demonstrates.

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