Händel's 'Aminta e Fillide' is quite simply a fantastic cantata, which incorporates several 'hits' that appear in later operas. During his stay in Italy, Händel had the best patron in Rome that he could have wished for, Marquis Francesco Maria Ruspoli, who provided him with sumptuous accommodation in the one-time family palace, composition commissions galore and introductions to influential people. Furthermore, Ruspoli helped to lay a firm basis for Händel's future opera career by providing him with a young star singer, Margarita Durastanti. In papal Rome, where opera was forbidden and female sopranos on public stages were taboo, this was an exceptional opportunity for Händel to experiment in all tranquillity with writing for a female voice and above all to perfect his Italian opera idiom. In the cantata 'Aminta e Fillide', there are even two sopranos, which made the love-scrapping (with happy ending) between the lovesick shepherd Aminta and the chaste nymph Phyllis all the more erotic for Ruspoli's private circle.
Brilliant instrumental music by Corelli, Telemann and Muffat in the first part of this concert will get you warmed up for Händel's vocal fireworks after the interval.