Giulia Frasi: Singer of Sentiment
Music and Letters
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Handel and his artistic collaborators worked in an age that prized the moral potential of emotion, particularly as mobilized in artistic representation. From weeping comedies and moving she-tragedies on the English stage to sentimental novels in the private closet and even powerfully moving sermons from the nation's pulpits, eighteenth-century audiences received a constant onslaught of emotionally charged rhetoric that aimed at inspiring virtue. This article provides several examples of how Handel's music, particularly his works of the 1740s and 1750s, operated within this contemporary culture of sentiment; it uses the career of Handel's last leading lady, Giulia Frasi (fl. 1742-72), as an illustration of the nexus between these ethical-aesthetic trends, Handel's musical works, and this singer's career. Examination of Frasi's musical education, the works that she performed, and her public persona shows that she cultivated a place in the culture of sentiment, both on and off the stage.
Handel's music; Giulia Frasi; Contemporary culture of sentiment; 18th century musical aesthetics
Arts and Humanities | Music
Lee, J. R.
Giulia Frasi: Singer of Sentiment.
Music and Letters, 101(3),