In opera, only the prima donnas – the main heroines – are the centre of attention, while the seconde donne stand in their shadow. But some composers, like Handel, must have had a soft spot for these "women in the shadows”. Not only do they guarantee dramatic developments in the plot, but are also given breathtakingly beautiful arias, sometimes lamenting, sometimes musing, sometimes full of revenge and rage. Placed in the deep registers of the female alto voice with the associated spectra of expression, they represent the opposite of the artificial soprano and castrato voices. In Julia Böhme’s interpretation, the seconda donna gets her moment of glory at the Handel Festival. This alto singer is a well-known figure in Halle: in previous years she won great acclaim in the stage productions of Arminio and Sosarme at Halle Opera, and last year in Parnasso in festa in Bad Lauchstädt.