Like Handel had done some years earlier, Johann Adolf Hasse left his native Germany in 1721 to gain some Italian polish, He eventually settled in Naples and studied with Porpora and Alessandro Scarlatti. In 1730 he moved to Dresden where he became Kapellmeister, married one of Handel's divas and the two became the power couple of late baroque opera.
In 2002, the beautiful Canadian-Armenian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian scored a major success when she appeared as Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, in Handel’s opera Giulio Cesare for the Canadian Opera Company. As one critic observed at that time, "Cleopatra is one of Handel’s most superb, and psychologically intricate, creations. The luminous Bayrakdarian has made a wonderful beginning in a role she will surely take to the great stages of the world—at first childishly seductive, then calculating, and ultimately revealing a profound nobility and vulnerability." For her third CD for CBC Records, Ms. Bayrakdarian has chosen arias from four works focusing on the Egyptian femme-fatale..