In the years before his reputation as the opera composer du jour was forged, Handel poured his creativity into a series of increasingly adventurous cantatas, among the most ambitious of which is Apollo e Dafne. Inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, this ancient fable finds striking parallels with modern day power struggles, as Daphne fights to resist Apollo’s advances and transforms herself into a laurel tree, her branches watered forever by his tears. This extraordinary tale of passion and penitence is rendered by Handel in music of searing intensity, its rapturous obbligato writing by turns, playful, poignant and seductive.
G.F. Handel Selection from Water Music HWV 348-350
G.F. Handel Silete venti HWV 242
G.F. Handel Apollo e Dafne HWV 122