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Largo from Xerxes

The opera by Handel, Xerxes (or Serse, to give it the Italian title) was a flop at its conception, but its enduring Largo aria has touched many hearts since it was first performed in 1738.


Unexpectedly, Handel's opera, based on the story of Xerxes I of Persia, didn't go down too well in 18th Century England. Caught between the straight-faced drama of an opera seria, and the comic opera buffa style, it disappeared from the stage after a mere five performances at the King's Theatre in London. The opening aria, known as Ombra mai fu, is an operatic favourite thanks to its beautiful plaintive melody. It's one of opera's more unusual love songs, performed by Xerxes as he admires the shade of a plane tree. As an instrumental arrangement, it is known as Handel's Largo, despite being marked larghetto in the score.


La ópera de Handel, Xerxes (o Serse, para darle el título italiano) fue un fracaso en su concepción, pero su larga aria de Largo ha tocado muchos corazones desde que se realizó por primera vez en 1738.


Inesperadamente, la ópera de Handel, basada en la historia de Jerjes I de Persia, no funcionó demasiado bien en la Inglaterra del siglo XVIII. Atrapado entre el drama serio de una ópera seria y el estilo cómico de la ópera bufa, desapareció del escenario después de solo cinco presentaciones en el King's Theatre de Londres.


El aria de apertura, conocida como Ombra mai fu, es un favorito de la ópera gracias a su bella melodía quejumbrosa. Es una de las canciones de amor más inusuales de la ópera, interpretada por Xerxes mientras admira la sombra de un plátano. Como arreglo instrumental, se le conoce como Handel's Largo, a pesar de estar marcado como larghetto en la partitura.

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