"Almira, Königin von Castilien" or "Der in Krohnen erlangte Glückswechsel" (HWV 1), is George Frideric Handel's first opera.


Handel came to the city of Hamburg in the summer of 1703 and played as a violinist in the theatre at the "Gänsemarkt", the local market place. On later occasions, he also played the harpsichord in the orchestra.His first opera – announced as a "Singspiel"—had its premiere on 8 January 1705 under the direction of Reinhard Keiser, so it is presumed that it must have been composed in the months directly preceding this.

The Italian libretto was written by Giulio Pancieri in Venice in 1691. Giuseppe Boninventi used it in his opera at the time. The translation used by Handel was made by Christian Feustking. While most of the recited parts and arias are sung in German, some remain untranslated.

Performance history

"Almira" was a resounding success. The opera was performed twenty times in total until its place was taken by Handel's next opera, "Nero", the music of which has not been preserved.

The first modern performance of "Almira" took place during the “Halleschen Händelfestspiele” (a festival dedicated to Handel) on the 4 June 1994, in Bad Lauchstädt.


Thus "Almira" is an exception amongst Handel's operas, in that changed voices are used for all the male roles..


In 1732 the piece was once more performed in a version edited by Georg Philipp Telemann.

In 1879 Franz Liszt composed a transcription of the Sarabande and Chaconne from the opening act of this opera for his English piano student Walter Bache. Noted by critics as one of the most striking of Liszt's late paraphrases as well as his only setting of a baroque piece from his late period, this work is said to anticipate Ferruccio Busoni's late-romantic settings of Bach.Baker, 103.] Australian Liszt scholar and pianist Leslie Howard has recorded this work as part of Hyperion Records' compleete Liszt series. [The recording can be found in Volume Six of the series, "Liszt at the Opera I," catalogue number CDA66371/2.]



* Baker, James M., ed. Kenneth Hamilton, "A survey of the late piano works," "The Cambridge Companion to Liszt" (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005). ISBN 0-521-64462-3 (paperback).
*citation|first=Winton|last=Dean|first2=J. Merrill|last2=Knapp|title=Handel's Operas, 1704-1726|publisher=Clarendon Press|year=1987
id=ISBN 0193152193
The first of the two volume definitive reference on the operas of Handel.
* [ändel) Almira (Händel) in German Wikipedia]
*Lang, Paul Henry, "George Frideric Handel"
*Scheibler, Albert, "Sämtliche 53 Bühnenwerke des Georg Friedrich Händel"

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