Christian Curnyn on Handel’s Partenope



Christian Curnyn (photo: courtesy of the artist)

Currently in Sydney, Australia, working on a production of George Frideric Handel‘s opera Partenope, British conductor and harpsichordist Christian Curnyn takes time out to explain the essence of Partenope’s character and how she compares to another heroine.

Everything about the opera is in the last aria when she sings, “Cupids play, always teasing”. She’s like a butterfly flitting between flames but she doesn’t want to get burnt, so she keeps men at a certain distance; she’s quite unusual in the fact that she’s gotten to her stage in life without being married, though I think she’s very happy having all these courtier men running around after her! She’s also the founder of Naples. She’s a builder, a sort of Cleopatra without Caesar. Cleopatra was going good guns until she started getting involved with men, and then it was all downhill!

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