Then & Now 12/5: A Close Call!
On this date in 1704, the 19 year old George Frideric Handel refused to turn over the harpsichord to Johann Mattheson during a performance of Mattheson's opera "Cleopatra," leading to a sword duel between the two. It is said that during the swordplay, Handel was saved by a button on his coat that deflected Mattheson's mortally-directed blade. The two reconciled a few weeks later, having dinner together and attending a rehearsal of Handel's opera "Almira," becoming, as Mattheson put it: "better friends than ever."
This is the time of year to hear Handel’s most famous work. There are a couple of opportunities to hear Messiah in our concert halls over the next several weeks. On December 10, Choral Artists of Sarasota will put a gospel twist on Messiah with a concert called Too Hot to Handel. Also on the 10th and 11th, the Tampa Oratorio Singers will perform the traditional Christmas portion of the oratorio at Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church in Tampa.