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Noon Edition

Handel: Israel in Egpyt

At its first performance in London, in 1739, George Frideric Handel's Israel in Egypt was a flop. Numerous refinements were made, including adding arias, stripping choruses, tampering with the text, and even removing an entire act. Years later, Handel's oratorio reached the form in which it is best-known today, a crowd-pleasing mixture of religious solemnity and theatrical drama. In this striking scene, the miraculously parted Red Sea allows the Israelites to escape by closing over the pursuing Egyptian armies. This would be bad news for an Egyptian charioteer suffering from "aquaphobia," the fear of water, or "thallasaphobia," the more specific fear of the sea. Frequently, these terms are confused with Hydrophobia, which, although it literally means "water-fear," is actually a term that describes late-stage Rabies.

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