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204lect9 - Lecture 9 Summary(terms in boldface Last week we...

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Lecture 9 – Summary (terms in boldface) Last week, we watched a substantial excerpt from a film called The Italian Connection , which introduced George Frideric Handel. The last part of the excerpt dealt with Italian opera in London, and especially the formation and early history of the opera company called the Royal Academy of Music . It was founded in 1719, with the support of the king and a number of powerful aristocrats. Handel was named musical director, and was sent to the Continent to hire singers in preparation for the first productions in 1720. The film discussed the popularity of Italian opera singers, and in particular of castratos , the talented men who performed the lead soprano roles. Our example for this week, the opera Tamerlano , was the opening show in the sixth season of the Royal Academy (see the NG article by Anthony Hicks). The first performance took place at the King’s Theatre on October 31, 1724. The story of Tamerlano is loosely based on historical fact. The Tartar conqueror Tamerlane (or Timur) defeated the Turkish Sultan Bajazet in 1402, and imprisoned him until his death. The story had already been depicted several times in the theatre, as
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