Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Porus, King of India by Georg Friedrich Händel

After discovering that Händel wrote an opera about Alexander (see: Alexander's Feast) I’m quite surprised to find out that he also wrote one about Porus, the King of India who was defeated by the Macedonian King at the great Battle of the Hydaspes in 326 BC.

Under its Italian name “Poro, Re dell’Indie” the opera was first performed in 1731 and was met with more or less success but then was generally forgotten till it was revived quite recently.

The story develops around the triangle love story borrowed from recorded history in which Queen Cleofide seeks to help Porus by pretending to be in love with Alexander the Great who is presented in Händel’s piece as a philosopher and marriage counselor. Porus voice was originally created for a castrato but today is taken over by a countertenor; Alexander’s role is sung by a tenor (of course, I would say!) and that of Cleofide by a soprano. It is the quality of their singing that dictates the success of the opera centered on some wonderful duets.

Quite amazing is that in this imaginary story Händel managed to express the respect Porus and Alexander showed each other in spite of pertaining to two different cultures which truly came together with them.

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