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Critic honours Handel's 250th with complete operas

Published: Friday 2nd of January 2009

A leading arts writer spent most of her Christmas in an unusual fashion this year – listening to every single opera by Georg Frideric Handel.

In recognition of 2009 as the 250th anniversary year of the composer's death, Emma Pomfret of the Times listened to all 42 operas in the space of three weeks as a kind of experiment to gain a comprehensive view of the quality of Handel's body of work.

A key challenge Ms Pomfret had to deal with is that fact that she merely listened to recordings of the work, as opposed to seeing them on stage as they would have been known during the composer's lifetime.

As Nicholas McGegan advises the writer: "There's nothing wrong with the fastforward button. Because, of course, you're doing what Handel would never have done, which is just to listen to an opera rather that have it on stage."

For more than 35 years up until his death in 1759, G F Handel lived at 25 Brook Street in London's West End. His old address is now the home of the Handel House Museum, one of London's most fascinating visitor attractions.

LondonPass holders can gain free entry to the museum, saving £5 for adults and £2 for children.

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