This paper focuses on the construction of the Handelian figure in the period between the last production of Admeto in the eighteenth century and the famous Göttingen revival of Rodelinda in1920. It first analyses the way certain operatic arias managed to remain in the repertoire, sometimes in re-written and re-contextualised – often ‘spiritualised’ – form. The second part of the paper is devoted to the part played by Handel in the career of the great contralto Pauline Garcia-Viardot, an artist actively involved in the performance of what was then regarded as sophisticated, ‘ancient’ music. The article eventually studies the way both Handel and his music are presented in George Sand’s Consuelo and La Comtesse de Rudolstadt, two novels based on the fictional transposition of both the life and career of Pauline Viardot. In a period when the ‘Artist’ – with a capital A – was often seen as the direct expression of divinity, telling Handel ‘the Artist’ from Handel ‘the Victorian moralist’– an image that was already beginning to take shape in the 1840s – is not always an easy task.
Haendel après Haendel :
Construction, renommée, influence de Haendel et de la figure haendélienne
Université de Lorraine
From Facts to Fiction: Handel's Operas between 1754 an 1920