George Frideric Handel was a German-British composer, famous for his operas and oratorios. He was born in 1685, to a family indifferent to music, and received musical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712 and becoming a naturalised British subject in 1727. Strongly influenced by the composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition, he started three commercial opera companies within 15 years, to supply the English nobility with Italian opera. In 1737 he had to deal with a physical breakdown, changed direction and addressed the middle class: he made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742) he never performed an Italian opera again. Handel was successful with his performances of English Oratorio on mythical or biblical themes. The pathos of Handel's oratorio is an ethical one, hallowed not by liturgical dignity but by the moral ideals of humanity. Almost blind, and having lived in England for almost fifty years, he died a respected and rich man.