Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Julius Caesar in Egypt), to give the opera its rarely used full name, was composed by Handel in 1723–24 and first performed at the King's Theatre, Haymarket, London, in 1724. It remains one of the most popular of Handel's Italian-language operas, enjoyed for its many gorgeous melodies, inspired orchestration, and exciting plot: the time-honored story of Caesar and Cleopatra in Egypt.
One of the composer's mature works, Giulio Cesare offers an impressive stage spectacle, punctuated with scenes of great dramatic power. However, it is also a work in which Handel began to expand the operatic conventions of the day. Thus we find greater clarity and depth of characterization, more effective use of orchestral color, and the use of recitatives both to carry the action forward and to provide a more forceful vehicle of expression.
Musicians, music scholars, and music lovers will welcome this handsome reprint of the full score of Giulio Cesare, reproduced complete and unabridged from the definitive Deutsche Handelgesellschaft edition. Moreover, the affordability of the Dover volume brings a baroque masterpiece within reach of all music lovers.