In that mythical museum of great composers, surely there is a special room reserved for prodigies. Mozart would be front and center. Mendelssohn and Chopin would no doubt be there, too. But George Frideric Handel?
We tend to imagine Handel as he’s portrayed in those stolid portraits from the later years, or through the well-proportioned sublimity of his mature works. But now, say Stephen Stubbs and Paul O’Dette — artistic directors of the Boston Early Music Festival — the time has come to complicate that picture, to encounter the composer as a young and brashly brilliant upstart, in short, to take in Handel’s very first opera: a dazzlingly virtuosic work from 1705 titled “Almira.”