London Georg Friedrich Händel Travel Reisen Culture Tourism (1)

Handel in London

The series about historical places of opera art & culture. Get to know exciting excursion and travel ideas for opera lovers. This time: Handel in London.


All Destinations on google maps with links to detailed Blogposts:





Handel in London

When Handel arrived in London in November 1711, he made the acquaintance of Aaron Hill, the only 24-year-old manager of the Queen’s Theatre in Haymarket, who as its tenant and impresario planned to bring Italian opera to London. When he heard that Handel had come to London, he proposed a joint project to the Saxon: to establish Italian opera in London with a bang. Handel was enthusiastic, and the two created the opera “Rinaldo” in a very short time. The first production hit like a bomb. Handel managed a collection of big hits with this opera (including “Lascia ch’io pianga”) and Hill came up with a series of crazy special effects. More about this in the excursus below on the opera “Rinaldo”. Handel subsequently remained in London throughout his life and experienced a moving artistic career. Handel achieved great triumphs with his opera companies and three times went bankrupt due to changing fashions. In addition, he wrote, among others, the Fireworks Music and the Water Music for the King, as well as oratorios, the last of which was the famous Messiah. Piquantly, in 1714 the Hanoverian George was elected English king , in whose service Handel had once been as court conductor, and he had absconded to London without permission. George I forgave the Saxon, reconciled not least by Handel’s Water Music for the Thames boat trips, and became an important patron. Handel remained loyal to London, occasionally visiting the Continent, mainly to recruit singers or in later years to take cures for his failing health. Handel died in 1750 as a wealthy but blind man in his Brook Street home, a year after the unspeakable eye operation by the quack Taylor.




Destination Händel House Brook Street (Handel and Hendrix)

Handel lived 36 years until his death in the house in Brookstreet and wrote there many operas, his Fireworks Music and the Water Music. In 2001 the house was turned into a museum and can be visited, for Handel fans of course a must. With the entrance fee you can also visit an apartment where Jimi Hendrix lived for a few weeks, that’s why the house is called Handel-Hendrix House.

The music room in the Handel House:

london handel hendrix house music room Georg Friedrich Händel Travel Reisen Culture Tourism (1)




Destination Victoria and Albert Museum: Handel Monument

12 years before his death, Handel was given the honor of being immortalized with a monument in the Vauxhall gardens. This was a sensation, as it was a privilege of nobles and admirals. The work created by Roubillac is now in the Royal and Albert Museum.

Handel monument:

royal and albert r&a museum Handel Monument Georg Friedrich Händel Travel Reisen Culture Tourism (1)




Destination King’s Theatre (today Her Majesty’s Theatre)

The Haymarket Theater was the stage for Handel’s three glorious opera companies. More than 25 of his operas were premiered here. The building was first called Queen’s Theater, with the change of power in 1714 changed to King’s Theater or simply Theater at Haymarket. The original theater no longer stands because in 1789 a fire was set by a disappointed artist during a rehearsal. After another fire, the present building was opened in 1897. Long used as a dramatic theater, it has been hosting musical productions for many years.

The historic King’s Theatre:

king's theatre queen's theatre haymarket london Georg Friedrich Händel Travel Reisen Culture Tourism (1)




Destination Westminster Abbey: Handels Tomb

It was Handels wish to find his last resting place in the Westminster Abbey. Again Roubiliac created the statue for the tomb. This portrait is generally recognized as very faithful, on the one hand because Roubiliac had already portrayed Handel once for a statue, and on the other hand he modeled the face on the basis of the death mask. This statement was confirmed by contemporaries who knew Handel.

Handel’s tomb:




Musical Background: The premiere of “Rinaldo”, the first Italian opera in London

After his arrival in November, Handel began work immediately in December. Since the first performance was scheduled for February, there was not much time to compose the work. So Handel did what was common at the time: he took many themes from pieces of his earlier works and rewrote them. It is estimated that he “recycled” about 14 pieces. In fact, the collection of “hits” in Rinaldo is fantastic: “Vo’ far guerra,” “Cara sposa,” “Augelletti, che cantate”, and “Lascia ch’io pianga” are musical treats in the best sense of the words. Hill wanted to present this opera with a bang in London. To do so, he used the theater’s brilliant stagecraft to present fire-breathing dragons, flying machines and black clouds. Dozens of live sparrows were used which caused enthusiasm among the audience. Hill didn’t skimp on the cast, either. The entire theater crew was made up of Italians, including the leading castrati of the day, Nicolini and Valentini. Rinaldo became an instant success and was given 13 times that same season. You can listen to these pieces in the online opera guide to Rinaldo.

«Lascia ch‘io pianga» from «Rinaldo»:




0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *