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During his career, Handel composed more than forty operas. Most of these operas show elements of Baroque music, such as the use of dance rhythms and elaborate melodic lines. Although he was born in Germany and lived most of his life in England, Handel's operas often follow the conventions of the Italian opera seria. Perhaps Handel's greatest contribution to the field of opera was his ability to convey emotions through melody. In this regard, he often used the opera seria convention of the da capo aria form to great effect.

George Frideric Handel was born in Halle, Germany, in 1685. His first two operas, Almira and Nero, were produced in Hamburg when he was less than twenty years old. In 1706, Handel traveled to Rome, where he learned about the Italian style of composing operas. During a visit to England in 1711, Handel produced an opera entitled Rinaldo which won him over with the English public. In 1712, the offer of a lifetime pension by Queen Anne caused Handel to move permanently to the city of London. As director for the Royal Academy of Music, Handel composed a vast number of works in the opera seria style. In 1728, with the introduction of The Beggar's Opera by John Gay, English tastes in opera began to change. In contrast to the opera seria, Gay's opera was sung in English and dealt with everyday themes (Wolff 150). Despite the popularity of this and other operas like it, Handel continued to write in the opera seria style. The repeated failure of his later operas caused Handel to switch over to oratorios after the late 1730's. In his later life, Handel suffered from a series of health problems which culminated in blindness. He died in 1759 at the age of 74.

Handel's operatic style contains many elements which are typical of the opera seria. Although he occasionally broke away from opera seria conventions, for the most part Handel's operas include such typical elements as the use of mythological or hist...

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