George Frideric Handel: Xerxes

Author: Unitel

Frankfurt Opera presents Handel’s opera Xerxes in a new staging, featuring rising mezzo-soprano Gaëlle Arquez in the title role

  • Gaelle Arquez Xerxes © CSAM

The Frankfurt Opera, one of Europe’s leading opera houses and multiple award-winning German "Opera house of the year", continues its cycle of Handel operas with Xerxes in a new production by young German stage director Tilmann Köhler, whose Frankfurt debut with Handel’s Rinaldo last season ravished the audience: “Such enthusiasm is even for Frankfurt unusual” wrote the press back then. Gaëlle Arquez, among today’s most promising and acclaimed mezzo-sopranos, sings the title role, the royal eccentric Xerxes. His opening aria, a declaration of love for a plane tree, “Ombra mai fu”, is one of the most beautiful arias ever written and not the only pointer to a new musical dramaturgy – there are no da capo arias, the switching between recitatives and arias is rapid and the opera takes on a dizzying tempo. Handel's late work is a vicious persiflage about the longings, doubts, quirks and (self)destructive megalomania of a ruler. The Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester plays under the baton of Constantinos Carydis, the highly praised Greek conductor: "All that he does turns to musical gold” (Musical America). The cast also includes Tanja Ariane Baumgartner in the role of Amastre, Xerxes shrewd fiancée.

A production of UNITEL in co-production with NHK.