“Tamerlano” (Georg Friedrich Haendel) premiered X 31 1724


The defeated Ottoman Emperor, Beyazit, is a prisoner of Timurlenk (Tamerlano). When Timurlenk releases him, Beyazit threatens to commit suicide but is dissuaded by Adnronicus. Timurlenk is in love with Beyazit’s daughter, Asteria. In return for her love, Timurlenk will allow him to live. Meanwhile, he also proposes to give his betrothed, Irene, to Andronicus. Using a disguise, Irene gains entry to the court. She has planned to murder Timurlenk but is captured. Now both father and daughter are imprisoned. Soon Asteria and Andronicus openly declare their love for each other. Timurlenk threatens them and Beyazit takes poison instead. In the end, Timurlenk pardons Asteria and Andronicus. He also reunites with Irene.

Source: stage agent

Opera, Blood, and Tears
celebrates the premiere of
Tamerlano, by Georg Friedrich Händel
October 31 at 7:30pm EST
on Clubhouse


Tamerlano, Emperor of the Tartars, has defeated and taken prisoner the Turkish sultan Bajazet. Although betrothed to Irene, princess of Trebizond, Tamerlano falls in love with Asteria, Bajazet’s daughter, who secretly loves and is loved by Andronico, a Greek general and ally of Bajazet.

Act I
The all-powerful emperor, ignorant of where Andronico’s affections really lie, asks Andronico to plead his cause with Asteria, promising him in return the hand of Irene and the restoration of Byzantine power. He also promises to free Bajazet who, in despair at his defeat, desires only death. Irene arrives at the palace still believing she is to marry Tamerlano. Andronico breaks the news of her rejection by Tamerlano but persuades her to remain at court (disguised as a lady-in-waiting to protect her identity) in order to await developments. Betrayed by Andronico’s apparent treachery, Asteria pretends to accept Tamerlano’s love, which horrifies Bajazet and Andronico.

Act II
Asteria accepts Tamerlano’s proposal, her motive being to get near the tyrant, whom she will then try to assassinate. The outrage of Bajazet and Andronico at her apparent faithlessness causes her to change her mind at the last moment. The murder attempt having failed, the furious Tamerlano swears he will have Asteria and her father killed.

Asteria’s disdain, however, has changed him and he renews his offer to Andronico, only to have it rejected. Andronico now proclaims his love for Asteria. Once again Tamerlano swears revenge on all of them. During a banquet, Asteria (now a slave) tries to poison Tamerlano, whose life is saved by the intervention of Irene, who then reveals herself. Asteria is condemned to death and Bajazet is driven to suicide by the imminent execution of his daughter: only thus can he escape Tamerlano’s power. In an impassioned monologue Bajazet calls on the Furies to take revenge on Tamerlano, then takes his own life. But his death so moves the emperor that he decides to pardon Asteria and give her hand in marriage to Andronico. Tamerlano himself will after all honour his betrothal to Irene.

Source: Handel & Hendrix

Tamerlan and Bajazet, oil on canvas by Andrea Celesti (around 1700)

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