Inspired with Godly Mirth by Ken Myers

Inspired with Godly Mirth

by Ken Myers

The year he turned twenty-one (1706), the energetic and obviously talented George Frideric Handel accepted an invitation from a member of the de Medici family to come to Italy. For the next four years, he worked for various patrons composing sacred motets, oratorios, secular cantatas, and two operas. His flair for dramatic composition was celebrated, and in 1710, he relocated to London, where—theaters having been closed in 1642 by the Puritans—works for the stage were still recovering from a long absence, and opera was just beginning to become fashionable.

Handel's Rinaldo—the first Italian-language opera written for an English audience—opened in 1711. It proved to be a great success and turned out to be the most frequently performed of Handel's 42 operas during his lifetime. In 1712, having secured a subsidy from Queen Anne, the composer decided to stay in England indefinitely.


Ken Myers is the host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal. Formerly an arts editor with National Public Radio, he also served as editor of Eternity, the Evangelical monthly magazine, and This World, the quarterly predecessor to First Things. He also serves as music director at All Saints Anglican Church in Ivy, Virginia. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.

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