Congreso Internacional: Música y Corpografías / International Conference: Music and Body Matters
Marjo Suominen (University of Helsinki)
Embodiment of love in Handel´s Opera Giulio Cesare
By studying metaphors of love in Handel´s opera Giulio Cesare in Egitto, I will introduce how it is depicted by the protagonists´ arias; via Cleopatra´s and Caesar´s musical gender relations, as a prevailing message. The atmospheric tone paintings set to the musical highlights of the protagonist arias answer the questions: how is love defined in Giulio Cesare? What kind of musical signs of love are there in use and to be found? What will these signs tell us? Love is an essential theme in Giulio Cesare because the arias` foci are interlocked by the affection tensions. These have encouraged various performance views of the work: ENO´s “epochy” depiction in 1984; Sellar´s “satirical”, politically aware version in 1990; HGO´s Hollywoodian “glamour” in 2004; and Glyndebourne`s “colonialistic” perspective in 2005. Classical rhetoric applications were central to all artistic renditions during the 18th century, and allegoric context via musical decoration reveals contemporary (morally aware) messages and ideals. I apply the theory of affects in music appearing in the writings by Handel´s colleague Johann Mattheson (Das Neu=Eröffnete Orchestre, 1713) grounded on Classic Aristotelian and Cartesian ideals (Aristotle´s Rhetoric, Descartes´ Les passions de l’âme). It also relates to so called Hippocratic- Galenic four elements or humours theory by which I will show the different representations of the opera´s characters, embodiments of cathartic (ethic, Lutheran-Ciceronian based) implications by Handel.