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Address:New Chamber Opera
4 Mansfield Road
Oxford OX1 3TA  
UK
Web:www.newchamberopera.co.uk  
Email:info@newchamberopera.co.uk  
Tel:+44 1865 281 966
NameTitle/Function
Michael BurdenDirector of productions
Gary CooperMusical Director
 FEATURES
Handel's Opera for TodayJan 2019
New Chamber Opera mounts Handel's Xerxes to cheer our winter days


Life is currently beyond parody.  So a monarch in love with a plane tree, a dysfunctional family, a foolish general and a servant who disguises himself as a flower seller can barely rank as out of the ordinary.  First performed in London in 1738, at the end of Handel's career as an opera composer, Handel's Xerxes is set in Persia about 470 BC and is very loosely based upon the true story of King Xerxes I.  It was intended as a comedic take on historical fact and the fashionable opera seria genre with all its serious rules and performance traditions.  The opera was too innovative for the time and the mix of comedy and tragedy was not liked.  But tragi-comedy is just what we appreciate right now and if we miss some of the subtle digs at a specific 18th century genre we won’t miss the buffoonery.  After many confused relationships are played out between various sets of lovers, hindered by confusions and deceptions, all ends happily.  The final chorus - Ritorna a noi la calma - is a consummation devoutly to be wished.

The New Chamber Opera production of Handel’s Xerxes opens on January 25 for two performances at the New College Ante-Chapel, Oxford.


 
Handelian Imbecilities?Jul 2007
New Chamber Opera's production of Xerxes aims to bring out the humour sometimes obscured for modern audiences by Handel's formidable musical reputation


Life is currently beyond parody.  So a monarch in love with a plane tree, a dysfunctional family, a foolish general and a servant who disguises himself as a flower seller can barely rank as out of the ordinary.  First performed in London in 1738, at the end of Handel's career as an opera composer, Handel's Xerxes is set in Persia about 470 BC and is very loosely based upon the true story of King Xerxes I.  It was intended as a comedic take on historical fact and the fashionable opera seria genre with all its serious rules and performance traditions.  The opera was too innovative for the time and the mix of comedy and tragedy was not liked.  But tragi-comedy is just what we appreciate right now and if we miss some of the subtle digs at a specific 18th century genre we won’t miss the buffoonery.  After many confused relationships are played out between various sets of lovers, hindered by confusions and deceptions, all ends happily.  The final chorus - Ritorna a noi la calma - is a consummation devoutly to be wished.

The New Chamber Opera production of Handel’s Xerxes opens on January 25 for two performances at the New College Ante-Chapel, Oxford.