Georg Friedrich Händel

At the request of his father, a prominent physician, Handel was to become either a doctor or a lawyer. However, he had strong musical talent and gained an excellent teacher, organist and composer F. W. Zachow. Handel successfully performed on a harpsichord in Berlin, but continued his studies of law. In 1702, he received the post of organist in Hall, where he performed and taught vocal music. He achieved an extraordinary success and that convinced him he was destined for a musical career. He quit his legal studies and left for Hamburg, the German city of opera.

In Hamburg, Handel became the second violinist in the opera orchestra. In 1704, he wrote the Passion of St. John, which was criticized by music critic Matheson. There was even a cord fight between them, in which Handel was almost killed. Matheson’s cord was stopped by a button on his coat. However, Handel's first operas "Almira" and "Nero" dominated the Hamburg Opera for the entire winter season. Unfortunately, opera in Hamburg was coming to an unfortunate end, and Handel traveled to Italy.

He visited Florence and traveled to Rome and attempted luck in the centre of opera, Venice. Then he lived in Naples for a year. He succeeded in Venice after his second visit. At the beginning of the carnival season 1709 – 1710, he introduced his opera "Agrippina" and success has surpassed all expectations. The opera has been voted the most melodic of Italian operas and its popularity soon spread throughout Europ. However, the success in Venice just convinced Handel that he received all he could from Italy and returned to Hanover, where he was offered the post of Kapellmeister. But even there he did not stay long and headed to England.

At the time when Handel arrived in London, the English music was in crisis, and London didn’t have a composer. Handel received a commission from the London opera for an opera "Rinaldo", which was created in just 14 days. The premiere had an overwhelming response. Aria "Lascia chi'o pianga" ("Let me weep") is one of the most famous opera arias. With obvious distaste, he left for Hanover the same year, but in 1712 was back in London with no intention of returning.

Immediately after his arrival in England, he had continuous success and became the official composer of the English Court. Between 1717 and 1720 he was in the service of the Duke of Chandos. There, with no care for money, his personality matured and Handel had virtually created a whole new style of music and theater. Later he tried to create a tradition of Italian opera in England. It was a period of struggle and intrigue, but concluded with Handel's immortal works.

Operas: "Radamisto", "Ottone", "Giulio Cesare", "Tamerlane" and many others. After years of success, new competitors began to appear and English resentment towards foreigners grew. Handel gradually lost the support of the king. By himself, he continued to fight for the Italian

opera, and wrote several operas a year, but his opera theater went bankrupt and he fell into debt.

In 1737, Handel suffered a stroke, caused by his stressful work. However, he was miraculously cured at the spa in Aachen. Reborn, he composed two masterpiece oratorios "Saul" and "Israel in Egypt". The Irish lord governor invited the composer to Dublin, where he created his extraordinarily successful oratorio "Messiah".

Handel's creative focus has shifted from operas to oratorios has gained him popularity once again. After the patriotic oratorios "Occasional Oratorio" and "Judah Maccabee", England finally acknowledged G. F. Handel as their national composer. He no longer had any enemies and material worries, and was able to fully devote himself to music. In addition to numerous operas, he created for example “Firework Musik” (Music for the Royal Fireworks).

He made the last trip to his hometown of Halle and finished oratorio "Jephta". After its completion, he went blind and in 1759 died.