Music: Handel on the Stand

The Met stages Rinaldo, but does it do the composer justice?

For London audiences of the early 18th century, Italian opera meant heroic plots, lavish sets and dazzling vocalism. It also meant a German-born composer with an anglicized name who had successfully transplanted a hothouse species to the neighborhood around Covent Garden:

George Frideric Handel. For almost 30 years, while the operatic vogue was at its peak, Handel was the unquestioned master of the form. Despite his historic eminence, however, he was neglected by the Metropolitan Opera until last week, when it finally staged...

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