New Productions

Georg Friedrich Händel
1685 - 1759

Dramma per musica in three acts
Libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym
World premiere February 20th 1724, King’s Theatre, Haymarket, London

Sung in Italian with German surtitles
Duration: c. 4 hours including 2 intervals

About the work

No wonder that opera lovers in London were so eager to hear Handel’s new opera – the hero was Julius Caesar, a historical figure w ...
No wonder that opera lovers in London were so eager to hear Handel’s new opera – the hero was Julius Caesar, a historical figure who played a major role in England’s history. Giulio Cesare in Egitto is about the confrontation between two cultures, the Roman and Egyptian, the rivalry within both realms and the delightful constellation that political and erotic considerations can go hand in hand between two people. Nicola Haym expanded the plot about Caesar, Cleopatra and Ptolemy to include Pompey’s widow Cornelia and her son Sextus. Every hero and villain has his weaknesses, and even those who believe they are invincible come a cropper. Love intended to be awoken in somebody as a ploy often awakes, unexpectedly, in the person seeking to manipulate. The libretto inspired Handel to perhaps his most magnificent score.


Cesare defeated his former ally Pompeo in battle, who fled with his wife Cornelia and son Sesto to seek refuge with Tolomeo – whos ...
Cesare defeated his former ally Pompeo in battle, who fled with his wife Cornelia and son Sesto to seek refuge with Tolomeo – whose right to rule Egypt is disputed by his sister Cleopatra. Cesare, who has followed him there, believes that Roman domination of the world is within his grasp. Cornelia and Sesto beg Cesare for mercy, which he is happy to grant: this proof of his magnanimity will improve his reputation. Achilla, Tolomeo’s General, hands Cesare a gift from his King: Pompeo’s severed head. Cornelia, grief-stricken, wants to die. The Roman tribune Curio and Achilla have designs on the widow. Sesto feels honour bound to revenge his father. Cleopatra devises a plan to procure Cesare’s help. She has nothing but ridicule for her brother’s claim to power. Achilla tells Tolomeo that he will lure Cesare into the palace and murder him. He demands Cornelia as his reward; Tolomeo agrees. Pompeo’s urn prompts Cesare to contemplate the transient nature of humanity. Disguised as one of her servants, “Lidia”, Cleopatra asks Cesare to support her mistress’ cause. Cesare falls for her charms and promises to help. Cornelia decides to murder Tolomeo . Sesto prevents her: it is a son’s duty to revenge his father. Cleopatra/Lidia offers to lead Sesto to Tolomeo. Cesare and Tolomeo both try to sum the other up without giving their true intentions away. Cornelia condemns Tolomeo and Sesto challenges him to a duel, but he orders that they both be locked up, separately. Cornelia refuses Achilla’s advances. She and Sesto take their leave from one another. Act 2 “Lidia” appears to Cesare as an allegory of virtue. Captivated by the performance, Cesare asks Nerino to bring the young woman to him. Cornelia has lost hope. Achilla offers her his hand in marriage again, she refuses. Achilla assures Tolomeo that he will kill Cesare, and Tolomeo again promises him Cornelia … but then tries to win her for himself, threatening violence if she does not yield to him. Cornelia is determined to end her life. Sesto, led to her in secret by Nireno, stops her. The three intend to use Tolomeo’s command that Cornelia be brought to him as a chance to assassinate him. Sesto prepares to revenge his father’s murder. Cleopatra feigns sleep to find out if Cesare loves her. While he is certainly enamoured he is not prepared to marry one of Cleopatra’s servants. Tolomeo is searching for Cesare. Cleopatra reveals her true identity: she wants to join the Romans against her brother. Cesare prepares for battle, but is forced to flee from the superior forces. Tolomeo chooses Cornelia from his harem for the night. Sesto is prevented from taking revenge when Achilla arrives: the General calls on Tolomeo to take up arms against Cleopatra and the Romans; he says that Cesare drowned while making his escape. Achilla demands his reward, but Tolomeo refuses him Cornelia’s hand. Cornelia reminds Sesto of his duty to kill Tolomeo. Act 3 Cleopatra is defeated, taken prisoner and humiliated by Tolomeo. Cesare managed to reach land. Achilla switches sides before he dies, to punish Tolomeo for breaking his word. Cesare seizes control and makes sure that Cleopatra is safe before he goes into battle. Sesto kills Tolomeo. Cleopatra is reinstated as Queen of Egypt. She wants to share her life with Cesare.

Thursday 13.12.2012 18:30 h

Further performances

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Pre-booking and Pricing


Erik Nielsen
Johannes Erath
Stage Designer
Herbert Murauer
Costume Designer
Katharina Tasch
Lighting Designer
Joachim Klein
Bibi Abel
Malte Krasting

Giulio Cesare
Michael Nagy
Curio, römischer Tribun
Sebastian Geyer
Cornelia, Pompejus' Gemahlin
Tanja Ariane Baumgartner
Sesto, Cornelias und Pompejus' Sohn
Paula Murrihy
Brenda Rae
Tolomeo, König von Ägypten, Cleopatras Bruder
Matthias Rexroth
Achilla, Heerführer und Ratgeber Tolomeos
Simon Bailey
Nireno, Cleopatras und Tolomeos Vertrauter
Dmitry Egorov

Orchestra of Oper Frankfurt


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