Handel’s Riccardo primo, Re díInghilterra (HWV 23) and Tolomeo, Re díEgitto (HWV 25) from B‰renreiter

The primary benefit of these vocal
scores seems clear enough: making available affordable, convenient, modern
critical editions of Handelís operas.1 Hitherto, individuals have been
largely limited to reproductions of Chrysanderís admirable but often
unreliable ninetieth-century German scores (G. F. H‰ndels Werke: Ausgabe
der deutschen H‰ndelgesellschaft
, 1858ñ94), which are availably for
purchase only sporadically (in the form, for example, of the Dover Score of
Giulio Cesare and Kalmusís miniature reprint series).
B‰renreiterís full-score editions, of course, have been beyond the means
of most individuals ñ Riccardo Primo and Tolomeo are
priced at Ä335.00 and Ä259.00 respectively ñ and are obviously intended
primarily for institutional purchase. At prices in the Ä25ñÄ40 range,
however, the vocal editions are affordable to a wide range of scholars,
students, and performers.

As has generally been the case, the vocal scores of Riccardo
and Tolomeo have followed the release of the full-score
editions of the same operas in the Hallische H‰ndel-Ausgabe
(HHA) complete-works series.2 Needless to say, the vocal editions
cannot offer many of the advantages of the HHA full scores, which
have been nearly unanimously hailed for the wealth of explanatory information
they provide. The orchestrational indications, for example, offer only
sketches of Handelís instrumentation, and are not always entirely clear.
Similarly, although a list of general procedural guidelines is supplied in
the front matter, explanations of specific editorial decisions are, of
necessity, extremely limited. The front matter, however, provides (in both
German and English) historical background, plot synopses, and, in the case of
Riccardo Primo, descriptions of the divergent versions of the opera,
giving students and scholars important contextual information. (These
passages are in some cases reproduced verbatim from the HHA
editions, and in others presented in condensed form.)

Handel_Tolomeo.pngOn balance, Ricardo Primo, Tolomeo, and the rest of
the series serve their purpose quite well. For researchers, the editions will
likely save many a trip to the university library (especially if the vocal
scores are supplemented with background and source information from Winton
Deanís two-volume monograph on Handelís operas). Moreover, vocal
instructors, students, and professional singers alike are sure to find the
editions invaluable, in that they provide relatively easy access to
dependable editions of Handelís operatic works with each new

Nathan Link

1. The vocal score of Amadigi di Gaula was published in late February 2008; Oreste is set to be published in May 2008.

2. There are three exceptions: the vocal scores for Ezio (scheduled for publication Summer 2008), Alcina (due for publication in 2009), and Giulio Cesare (publication date not yet clear) have preceded the publication of the respective HHA full score.

image_description=G. F. Handel: Riccardo primo, Re díInghilterra (HWV 23)
product_title=G. F. Handel: Riccardo primo, Re díInghilterra (HWV 23); Tolomeo, Re díEgitto (HWV 25)
product_by=B‰renreiter-Verlag, Kassel, 2007
product_id=Riccardo primo, Re díInghilterra — ISBN/ISMN: M-006-53247-6 (BA4081 90)
Tolomeo, Re díEgitto — ISBN/ISMN: M-006-49932-8 (BA4058 90)
price=23.95 EUR