In the heyday of the Hamburg Baroque Opera (1697-1718) Keiser played with his own compositions approximately the entire game plan. Keiser is the composer to whom the opera at the Gänsemarkt has remained connected for the longest time; his name and more than 100 opera works are synonymous with the Hamburg baroque opera.
Masaniello furioso or "The Neopolitan Fishermen's Disaster" was created in 1706. Barthold Feind, the well-known Hamburg dramatist, created the libretto, but leaned on a true story from 1663: The revolt of the fisherman Tommaso Aniello against the foreign rule of the Spaniards in Naples, his victory and the sudden dramatic turn of madness and the execution of the hero. For the Baroque opera, which otherwise preferred to use mythology, this stuff is certainly strong tobacco. Keizer recognized this opportunity by writing his most imaginative and colorful score.
Handel came to the city of Hamburg in the summer of 1703 and played as a violinist in the theatre at the Gänsemarkt, the local market place. On later occasions, he also played the harpsichord in the orchestra. His first opera – announced as a Singspiel although it has no spoken dialogue – was premiered on 8 January 1705, after being composed in the months directly preceding this. An Italian libretto was written by Giulio Pancieri in Venice in 1691 for Giuseppe Boniventi's opera L'Almira. The German translation used by Handel was made by Friedrich Christian Feustking. The recitatives of the opera are in German, while some of the arias are also in German, others in Italian, as was the custom at the opera house in Hamburg. Almira is the sole example among Handel's many operas with no role for a castrato.