James Newton Music Room
Handel used this room to rehearse,
perform and entertain with the dual
purpose of music making and dining.
Here, Handel rehearsed his cast of
performers before the start of each opera
or oratorio season, often in front of small
invited audiences of friends and patrons.
Those present would have witnessed
the first performance of Handel’s works
but also the spectacle of the composer
swearing at the stubborn singers, and
usually in several different languages.
This room was officially the dining
room. You can imagine the room being
rearranged with a table in the middle set
for Handel and a few guests to dine on
the culinary delights of Handel’s chef,
Gustavus Waltz. Handel was described
as a person who indulged ‘in the sensual
gratifications of the table’, in other words,
he loved fine food and drink and consumed
a lot of it. Anecdotes suggest that Handel
reserved his finer food and drink for his
own secret consumption.