Serse (; English title: Xerxes; HWV 40) is an opera seria in three acts by George Frideric Handel. It was first performed in London on 15 April 1738. The Italian libretto was adapted by an unknown hand from that by Silvio Stampiglia for an earlier opera of the same name by Giovanni Bononcini in 1694. Stampiglia's libretto was itself based on one by Nicolò Minato that was set by Francesco Cavalli in 1654. The opera is set in Persia (modern-day Iran) in 480 BC and is very loosely based upon Xerxes I of Persia, though there is little in either the libretto or music that is relevant to that setting. Serse, originally sung by a castrato, is now usually performed by a mezzo-soprano, contralto or countertenor.
The opening aria, " Ombra mai fu", sung by Xerxes to a plane tree ( Platanus orientalis), is set to one of Handel's best-known melodies, and is often known as Handel's "Largo" (despite being marked "larghetto" in the score).
Usage examples of "serse".
Serse, ossia del Papa, avea concesso tutto questo bel tempo ai proscritti senza sturbarli ed essi conoscendone le condizioni, davansi poca briga di allontanarsi.