->''"I thought I saw the face of God."''
-->-- After composing the Hallelujah chorus for ''Messiah''

German-born English composer (23 February 1685 -– 14 April 1759), an exact contemporary of Music/JohannSebastianBach (Bach was born 37 days after Händel), although they never met. Händel made his name and fortune composing operas in Italian, writing over 40 of them, most of them for the English market after he moved to London; he was the first ever composer to [[MoneyDearBoy get rich and famous from composing]]. In the 1740s, the audience's taste for Italian opera mysteriously went away. After a brief period of reconsideration, he saw what the audience wanted and began to write oratorios in English, the most famous of which (and most famous overall) is ''Messiah''. (Yes, it's the one with the [[StandardSnippet "Hallelujah" chorus.)]]

He is mentioned as being dead in the song "Decomposing Composers" by Creator/MichaelPalin sang on Creator/MontyPython's ''Audioplay/MontyPythonsContractualObligationAlbum''.

!!Tropes present in Händel's works:

* AdaptationDistillation: When he used old libretti as the basis for his operas, the texts were often considerably shortened.
* AdaptationExpansion: When Händel decided to write an opera based on Congreve's ''Semele'' libretto, an unknown poet added substantially to the text, borrowing from a number of authors.
* AmbiguouslyGay: At the end of ''Saul'', David responds to Jonathan's death with the words 'Great was the pleasure I enjoy'd in thee,/ and more than woman's love thy wondrous love to me'. But given that this was 200 years ago, concepts of relationship were very different; it might mean they were [[HeterosexualLifePartners Heterosexual Life Partners]]. The debate rages on...
* AmbitionIsEvil: In ''Alexander Balus'', Ptolemee marries his daughter Cleopatra off to the title character, plotting to stab him in the back to further his own goals. The scheme ultimately ruins his daughter's wedded bliss (she and Alexander were actually happy together), and gets both Ptolemee and Alexander killed. Cleopatra summarises that "This is thy havock, O ambition, bane of human happiness!".
* ArtisticLicenceHistory: A lot of Händel's operas are based on the lives of historical figures (''Alessandro'', ''Ricardo Primo'', ''Agrippina''), but the librettists frequently distorted facts in service of a good story (and a happy ending). Just to pick a prominent example, anyone familiar with Imperial Roman history might be surprised that ''Agrippina'' concludes with joyful wedding celebrations when, in reality, the events portrayed (Agrippina's string-pulling with her son Nero, Nero's adulterous affair with Poppea Sabina etc.) led to... well, a lot of ugly death, really.
** [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in the introduction to the word-books for ''Serse'': "Some imbicilities, and the temerity of Xerxes (such as his being deeply enamour’d with a plane tree, and the building of a bridge over the Hellespont to unite Asia to Europe) are the basis of the story, the rest is fiction".
* AwesomeMomentOfCrowning: He wrote the coronation anthem "Zadok the Priest" for the coronation of [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfHanover George II]] in 1727. It proved so popular that it has been used at every coronation ever since.
* BearerOfBadNews: There are quite a few Greek-tragedy-style 'messenger scenes' (where horrible events happen offstage and are reported by an eyewitness) in both the operas and oratorios.
** Happens ''twice'' in quick succession in ''Alexander Balus'': first someone rushes in to announce that Alexander is dead, then someone else arrives with news of Ptolemee's death (see [[FromBadToWorse From Bad To Worse]] below).
** Lycas telling the citizens about the poisoning of the title character in ''Hercules''.
** ''Samson'' has a character referred to as 'messenger' in the libretto and 'an Hebrew of our tribe' by the other characters who relates how Samson pulled down a building, killing himself. He does add a silver lining (or at least the people he's talking to would see it as such): Samson's Philistine captors also died in the collapse.
** The Amalekite who tells David of Saul and Jonathan's deaths in ''Saul'', then gets executed for his trouble (he himself had helped Saul commit suicide, but still...).
* BestFriendsInLaw: David and Jonathan in ''Saul'' after David marries Jonathan's [[GenderBlenderName sister Michal]].
* BrainlessBeauty: The title character in ''Semele'' is sometimes seen as this, but she becomes heart-breakingly self-aware in the moments before her death.
* ChewingTheScenery: The title character in ''Hercules'' after being poisoned, and his wife Dejanira after realising she poisoned him.
* Myth/ClassicalMythology: The basis for several of his operas, oratorios and cantatas.
* DishonoredDead: In ''Giulio Cesare in Egitto'', the body of Achillas, the Egyptian commander, is thrown by Sextus into the sea. Achillas did work for the Romans' enemy before and especially take part in the murder of Sextus' father, but Sextus ''completely'' ignores the fact that he had defected to the good side and had just given him, Sextus, the commander's sigil which is the only means to save his mother.
* DownerEnding: Given that opera and oratorio of the time had a strong emphasis on happy endings, these are few and far between, but the English oratorio ''Theodora'' is an outstanding exception, finishing with the execution of the title character and her lover.
* DrivenToSuicide: Bajazet in ''Tamerlano''.
* EveryManHasHisPrice: In ''Semele'', Juno tries to get Somnus, the god of sleep, to help her kill the title character. He refuses, and asks to be left in peace... but when she offers him the hand of a beautiful nymph, he's suddenly wide awake and eager to help.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: Pop quiz--For what event do you think "Music for the Royal Fireworks" was composed? How about the "Coronation Anthems"?
* [[FromBadToWorse From Bad To Worse]]/[[BSODSong BSOD Song]]: At the end of ''Alexander Balus'', a [[BearerOfBadNews messenger]] arrives with news that Cleopatra's husband has been killed in battle, and she responds with an anguished, passionate lament. Then a ''second'' messenger comes to tell her that her father is also dead... and after a brief outburst, she just shuts down, and closes the scene thusly:
--> ''Convey me to some peaceful shore\\
Where no tumultuous billows roar,\\
Where life, though joyless, still is calm\\
and sweet content is sorrow's balm.\\
There, free from pomp and care, to wait,\\
forgetting and forgot, the will of fate.''
* GenderBlenderName: Michal is the ''daughter'' of the title character in ''Saul''. Comes across as this trope to modern audiences, mightn't have at its premiere.
* GenreBusting: Scholars still argue over whether ''Hercules'' and ''Semele'' are oratorios, operas or something else (even though they're performed in opera houses quite a bit). Händel called ''Hercules'' 'A Musical Drama' and said ''Semele'' would be performed 'After the manner of an oratorio' (implying it wasn't actually one), so it seems even the man himself didn't want to nail his colours to the mast.
* GodIsLoveSongs: The "Hallelujah" chorus from ''Messiah'' may be the best illustration of this trope ever.
* GreekChorus: In a lot of the oratorios, particularly (and unsurprisingly) the ones based on Myth/ClassicalMythology.
* HarsherInHindsight: ''Samson'' contains the famous aria 'Total eclipse', in which a blind man laments the loss of his sight. Händel himself went blind toward the end of his life, and performances of this aria were said to move him, and the audience, to tears.
* HeelFaceTurn: A lot of the operas end with the villain having one of these. It was a ''really'' common device in Italian-language opera at the time, not just in Händel's works.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: David and Jonathan in ''Saul'', though some read it as [[AmbiguouslyGay Ambiguously Gay]].
* HymnToMusic: Several times. In ''Saul'', David's skill as a harpist gives rise to an extensive one. ''Alexander's Feast; or, The Power of Music'' and ''Ode for St Cecilia's Day'', both based on poems by Dryden in honour of the patron saint of music, apply this trope to entire odes rather than just a single song or movement.
* {{Hypocrite}}: The title character in ''Saul'' made witchcraft punishable by death... then he displeases God, can't hope for any divine aid in an imminent war, and goes to a witch for help.
* ItsAllAboutMe: Athamas in ''Semele'' comes across like this, particularly when he sees Ino crying and thinks she's upset ''because things aren't going his way''. She's actually secretly in love with him, and calls him out on his self-absorption.
* JudgmentOfSolomon: Not surprisingly, in ''Solomon'', two women, baby and everything.
* LastMinuteReprieve: The title character in ''Jephtha'' is about to sacrifice his own daughter (because of a rash promise to God), when an angel appears and tells him there's no need because... God set the whole thing up and stuff. It jars, but Händel pulls it off.
* LastRequest: When his lifelong friend and commissioner, George I, was on his deathbed, he made two acts as king: the first was to naturalize Händel as a British citizen. The second one was to commission him to write a coronation anthem for his son, who would become George II. It was [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiXgOQ9_-RI awesome.]]
* LoveDodecahedron: Basically every opera of his has one. Take ''Giulio Cesare in Egitto'': Cleopatra falls in love with Caesar, but Caesar's friend Curio is also attracted to her (before they know her true identity) mainly because he wants to forget about Cornelia who rejected him, while Cornelia in the meantime is being pursued by the antagonists Achilla (who, in most interpretations, comes to truly love her) and Ptolemy (who wants her ''and'' a whole harem of girls).
* MelismaticVocals: A very popular device for Baroque composers, and Händel was very good at it. Particularly well-known example in the chorus 'For unto us a child is born' from ''Messiah''; 'born' is set to a 57-note melisma.
* MoodWhiplash: Baroque composers were fond of extreme contrast, and Händel uses this a lot. However, there are a few particularly cool examples that deserve special mention:
** Act I of ''Acis and Galatea'' closes with the love duet 'Happy We!', and Act II opens with the chorus ''Wretched lovers! quit your dream'.
** In ''Alexander Balus'', Cleopatra's meditative, pastoral aria is suddenly interrupted by a chorus of thugs sent by her father to kidnap her. Made all the more striking because we expect this to be a ''da capo'' aria (ABA) but the chorus bursts in before Cleopatra finishes the B section.
** ''L'Allegro, Il Penseroso ed Il Moderato'' positively runs on this trope, alternating songs in praise of a carefree life of pleasure with ones extolling a hermitic, religious existence.
** In ''Samson'', two friends pensively discuss their concern for the title character, only to be interrupted ''mid sentence'' by 'A symphony of horror and confusion' representing the collapse of a nearby building.
** The chorus "All We, Like Sheep" from ''The Messiah'' starts off quite cheerfully, with layered melismas making the music sound as though the whole choir is on a whirlgig. And then the music draws to a dead halt and the second half of the chorus is slow and somber in a minor key.
** ''Saul'' features a cheerful chorus celebrating David's triumph, followed by the title character expressing jealous, paranoid rage. Then we go back to the jubilant chorus (even more excited than before), then back to broody Saul, then on to even ''angrier'' Saul.
** The title heroine in ''Susanna'' sings a dignified lament whose middle section is interrupted by the impatient blusterings of another character. Then she ''goes back to the first section to finish the aria anyway''.
* MusicOfNote: The ''Messiah'', in particular the "Hallelujah Chorus", is pretty much required listening. Also, don't miss the "Water Music" and "Music for the Royal Fireworks."
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Dejanira in ''Hercules'' after she gives her husband a robe soaked in poison (she thought it was a potion that would stop him cheating). Results in a pretty terrifying breakdown, with violent mood swings and horrible hallucinations, all vividly portrayed in music.
* {{Necromancer}}: The Witch of Endor in ''Saul'', who summons the ghost of the prophet Samuel at Saul's command.
* {{Opera}}: He composed dozens of them, a few of which remain in the standard repertoire to this day, and others that are starting to come back in vogue.
* {{Oratorio}}: The genre he is probably best known for, thanks to ''Messiah''.
* OutOfGenreExperience: While Händel is rightly famous for his own work, he is less known as a major force in the preservation of Irish folk music. He spent a lot of time in Dublin gathering and notating Irish airs and dance tunes.
* PassionPlay: ''Brockes Passion'' and much of the second part of ''Messiah''.
* PublicDomainSoundtrack: The "Hallelujah Chorus" has been used and abused in innumerable commercials and movies.
* RightfulKingReturns: Joas in ''Athalia''.
* SenseLossSadness: "Total Eclipse" from ''Samson'', which thanks to RealitySubtext became a literal TearJerker for the composer (and the audience) when he lost his own sight.
* StandardSnippet: The Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah is probably THE best-known piece from Handel, especially since modern comedies love using it.
* TheSimpleLifeIsSimple: The pastoral opera ''Acis and Galatea'' and the ode ''L'Allegro, Il Penseroso ed Il Moderato'' use this trope almost throughout ([[TropesAreNotBad and use it gloriously]]).
* TakeMeInstead: In ''Jephtha'', Hamor offers to be sacrificed in place of his fiancée Iphis.
* TearJerker: The ''Messiah'' moved him to tears. Apparently he actually had a kind of religious/supernatural experience after its first performance, when he looked again at the music and supposedly saw the face of {{God}} staring back at him.
* TropeCodifier: For English oratorio.
* UrbanLegend: King George II did ''not'' rise to his feet upon hearing the "Hallelujah Chorus," nor indeed is there any clear evidence he was even at the premiere. But thanks to the legend, it's become a concert tradition for the audience to follow suit.
** Also, the story is sometimes told that Händel composed the "Water Music" to earn his way back into the king's favor after a falling-out. In fact, George I specifically commissioned the piece in order to counter the growing popularity of his son, the Prince of Wales (later George II), with whom--like pretty much all Hanoverian monarchs and their eldest sons--''he'' had had a falling-out.
* TheVamp: Dalila in ''Samson'', and the title character in ''Alcina'', who seduces knights, gets bored of them, and turns them into... anything that comes to mind.
* WarIsHell: The aria 'War, he sung, is toil and trouble' in ''Alexander's Feast''.
* WhatTheHellHero: The title character in ''Jephtha'' promises God that if he triumphs in battle, he'll sacrifice the first living thing he sees when he gets back. The first person he meets is his daughter. When his brother, wife and future son-in-law find out, they let fly with this trope.
* WomanScorned:
** Dejanira in ''Hercules'', though she only ''thought'' she was ''about'' to be scorned. It turned out she was wrong, but by the time she realised that it was already waaaay too late.
** Juno in ''Semele''; she arranges for her husband's mistress (the title character) to be burned to death.

!!Tropes present in Händel's life:
* AmbiguouslyGay: Händel never married and he never had a long-term relationship with a woman, although he had plenty of opportunity to have one, since he worked for most of his life writing operas. Some people believe that he had a long-term relationship with his secretary, John Christopher Smith; there's no evidence that he did, but also none that he didn't.
* BerserkButton: People playing out of tune. He demanded that the orchestras he worked with tune before he showed up, and at one time slugged the jaw of a violinist who missed a note.
* BlindMusician: Händel lost his vision later in life, but [[DeafComposer kept on composing and performing]]. On one occasion, Sir John Stanley—also blind—was scheduled to be the keyboardist for a concert that Handel was supposed to conduct. Händel, when told of it, [[DeadpanSnarker said]], "[[AsTheGoodBookSays Don't you know your Scripture]]? If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the pit."
* DeadpanSnarker: When a male singer protested about Händel's accompaniment by threatening to jump on Händel's harpsichord, he famously replied:
-->Let me know when you will do that and I will advertise. I am sure more people will come to see you jump than will come to hear you sing.
** Then there was the time a violinist he was accompanying improvised a big showy cadenza and lost track of what key he was meant to be in. When he finally found his way back to the right key, Händel shouted 'Welcome home!', and the audience burst out laughing.
** Also when he was told that a singer he knew intended to study ''basso continuo'' playing (i.e. improvised keyboard harmony over a given bass line), he quipped 'What may we not expect?'
** This was once turned against him. When a newly-arrived soloist terribly botched his first rehearsal, Händel rebuked him, saying "You said you could read at sight!" The soloist replied "I said that, but I didn't say at first sight."
* GeniusBruiser: An immensely skilled musician and composer, but also famous for his huge size and prodigious strength--recall the famous incident in which he held a soprano out of a window until she acquiesced to some demand of his, to say nothing of the incident with the kettle drum. The incident with the kettle drum? See HotBlooded, below.
* HotBlooded: Once, during a practice, a violinist hit a bum note. Händel was so furious he lobbed a ''kettle drum'' at him. "OK," you might think, "he threw a drum, those can't be that heavy." But you see, a ''kettle'' drum is a [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin solid copper kettle]], at least half a meter wide, with a drumhead stretched over the top. The things are ''heavy.'' And again, he at one point attempted to hurl an obnoxious diva out through a window
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: For all his violent antics, he paid his musicians well, and would go PapaWolf on their behalf on occasion.
* PocketProtector: The story goes that he got into a sword duel with another man, who managed to evade Händel's parries and thrust directly at his chest. The tip of the sword caught on a brass button and the blade flexed and snapped, thus ending the duel.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: When Georg Friedrich Händel moved to England, he anglicized his name to George Frideric Handel.