Handel’s Pieces of Music Similar to the Opera but Religious

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you’re a fan of Handel’s music, you might be interested in his pieces that are similar to the opera but religious in nature. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at a few of these pieces and see what makes them special.

George Frideric Handel

George Frideric Handel was born in Halle, Germany, in 1685. He is widely considered one of the greatest composers of the Baroque era. He is best known for his operas, but he also wrote many pieces of religious music. In fact, some of his pieces of religious music are quite similar to his operas.

His life

George Frideric Handel was born on February 23, 1685, in Halle, Duchy of Magdeburg, to Georg and Dorothea Taust. His father, aged sixty-three when George Frideric was born, was an eminent barber-surgeon who served the court of Saxe-Weissenfels and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. Georg Händel was the son of a coppersmith, Valentin Händel who had emigrated from Eisleben in 1608 with his first wife Anna Belching (married at St. Bonifacius, Eisleben), the daughter of Anton Belching and his wife Marion Engelsing, following the visitation of the devastating Thirty Years’ War. They had eight children: Georg Valentin, Christina Salomea (married Johann Christoph Schmidt), Maria Sophia (married Telemann), Anna Gertrudis (died young), Helena Susanna (married Johan Christoph Pepusch), James Louis (known as Jacobus Gallus or Jakob Haendl), Johanna Christiana and Georg Michael.

His work

George Frideric Handel was born in Halle, Germany, in 1685. He received his first musical instruction from his father, a barber-surgeon, who played the violin in the town band. When he was eleven years old his father died, and he became a pupil of Zachow, the principal organist of the town. He soon surpassed his master, and at the age of eighteen he went to Hamburg, where he became second violinist and harpsichordist in the opera orchestra. Here he had opportunities of hearing many of the great singers and players of his time; among them were Mattheson, Buxtehude and Reincken.

In 1706 he made a journey to Italy, where he met Corelli and other famous musicians. On his way back to Hamburg he stopped at Hanover and played before the Elector, George Louis, who was so impressed with his ability that he offered him a position as court musician. Handel accepted the offer and remained in Hanover for two years; but he found life at court dull and unattractive, and in 1710 he went to London.

Pieces of Music Similar to the Opera but Religious

One of the pieces of music that is similar to the opera but religious is the oratorio. The oratorio is a musical composition that is similar to an opera but is usually performed without costumes, scenery, or acting. It is usually based on a religious story or a biblical story.


George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” is one of the most popular pieces of music ever written. It is also one of the most popular pieces of religious music. “Messiah” is an oratorio, which is a type of musical composition that tells a story through song. The word “oratorio” comes from the Latin word “orare,” which means “to speak.” “Messiah” was originally written for the church, and it was first performed in Dublin, Ireland in 1742.

“Messiah” is about the life of Jesus Christ, and it includes such well-known pieces as “He Shall Feed His Flock,” “Surely He hath Borne Our Griefs,” and “Hallelujah.” The work takes about two hours to perform, and it is usually performed by a large choir and orchestra. “Messiah” is often performed during the Christmas season, but it can be enjoyed at any time of year.


Jephtha is an oratorio by George Frideric Handel, composed in 1751. The libretto was by Thomas Morell, based on the Biblical story of Jephtha in Judges 11. The work, which received many performances both during Handel’s lifetime and in the centuries after his death, was very popular, helping to revive the practice of English oratorio.


While “Susanna” may not be an opera, it is a piece of music similar to the opera but religious. This work was composed by George Frideric Handel and is based on the story of Susanna and the Elders from the Book of Daniel. The work is comprised of three parts: an overture, recitative, and aria. The overture sets the stage for the following two pieces which tell the story of Susanna. In the recitative, Susanna is accused by two elders of being unfaithful to her husband. However, in the aria that follows, Susanna proclaims her innocence. This work is a beautiful example of Handel’s religious compositions and is sure to please any fan of his work.

Why these pieces are similar to the Opera but Religious

Handel’s Pieces of Music that are Similar to the Opera but Religious are very special. They are not just Opera pieces that have been turned into religious pieces, but they are original works that have been written for the specific purpose of being Religious.

The arias

The arias in the pieces are very comparable to opera arias. They are full of emotion and are usually about love. The big difference is that the arias in these pieces are religious instead of secular.

The recitatives

The recitatives in both are similar in that they are both used to further the plot. In the opera, recitatives are used to advance the story line and develop the characters. In Handel’s pieces, recitatives are used to advance the religious story line and develop the characters.

The choruses

While the choruses in early Italian operas were often little more than an opportunity for the composer to show off his skill at writing for large numbers of voices, in German they began to take on a more central role in expressing the drama. This was especially true in the works of George Frideric Handel, who became known for his grand and stirring choral writing.

Many of Handel’s greatest works are what are known as oratorios. These are large-scale pieces that tell a religious story, usually from the Bible, using a combination of soloists, chorus, and orchestra. While they share many similarities with opera—including dramatic plotting and sweeping music—they are usually performed without costumes or staging.

One of the most famous examples of a work that falls into this category is “Messiah,” which tells the story of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection. Like many of Handel’s oratorios, it was originally written in English and therefore would have been accessible to a wider audience than those who only spoke Italian.

Other well-known examples of Handel’s religious pieces include “Judas Maccabaeus,” which tells the story of the Biblical hero who led a rebellion against the occupying Syrian army, and “Theodora,” which tells the story of a Christian martyr who refuses to renounce her faith even when faced with torture and death.

While these pieces may not be as well-known as some of Handel’s more famous operas, they are still beautiful and powerful works that showcase the composer’s skill at writing both stirring choruses and moving solo passages.

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