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 and Daphne.
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.
Handel: Water Music selection
Handel: Silete Venti HWV 242
Handel: Apollo & Daphne HWV 122
Rowan Pierce: Soprano
Matthew Brook: Bass