Riccardo primo, re d'Inghilterra is an opera seria in three acts written by George Frideric Handel for the Royal Academy of Music. The Italian-language libretto was by Paolo Antonio Rolli, after Francesco Briani's Isacio tiranno, set by Antonio Lotti in 1710. Handel wrote the work for the Royal Academy's 1726–27 opera season, as homage to the newly crowned George II and the nation where Handel had just received citizenship. Riccardo Primo was the third opera Handel composed for the trio of famous star Italian singers, the castrato Senesino and the sopranos Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni; the opera received its premiere at the King's Theatre in London on 11 November 1727, 11 subsequent performances. It was performed in Hamburg and Braunschweig in February 1729; the Hamburg performance, led by none other than Georg Philipp Telemann, included two new comic characters and Gelasius. Handel subsequently re-used music from the opera in Tolomeo; the opera fell into neglect after the 1728 closing of the Royal Academy.
Riccardo Primo was rediscovered and performed by the Handel Opera Society at Sadler's Wells Opera in London on 8 July 1964. Performances were given at Kourion Amphitheater in Cyprus at 1991, in order to mark the 800th anniversary of the historical events on which the opera is based, at the 1996 Göttingen Festival and at the Händelfestspiele at the Badisches Staatstheater in 2014 and 2015; the work was given its United States premiere, presented as Richard the Lionheart, by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis during the summer 2015 season. Time: 1191 Place: CyprusThe story concerns the marriage of Richard I of England to Constanza, a Spanish princess; the character of Costanza is identified with Berengaria of Navarre, who married Richard I at Limassol at 1191. Cyprus On her sea journey to be married to Riccardo and her party are shipwrecked off the coast of Cyprus, she finds shelter at the court of the local governor, pretending that she and her tutor, are brother and sister and Narsete, servants of Costanza.
Oronte is attracted to'Doride'. Pulcheria is angry. Riccardo arrives, disguised as his kingdom's ambassador, asks after Costanza. Isacio guesses "Doride's". Isacio, knowing that Riccardo has never seen his fiancée, proposes to send his daughter Pulcheria to Riccardo in her stead, leaving the way open for his seduction of Costanza, whom he forces to admit her real identity. Pulcheria agrees, out of duty to her father, but intends to reveal the deception at the right moment. Oronte has discovered Isacio's plot through Berardo and stops it at the moment that Riccardo and Pulcheria meet for the first time, which leads Pulcheria to forgive her fiancé. Riccardo is angry upon learning of Isacio's designs and proposes to overthrow the tyrant in alliance with Oronte, he plans to offer charity towards Isacio in spite of the ill plotting. Speaking "on behalf" of Riccardo, "the Ambassador" offers Isacio the choice of either war. Pulcheria pleads for Costanza and Isacio agrees to bestow her on Riccardo. Pulcheria introduces Riccardo as the'ambassador, but revealed as his true self, to Costanza, act 2 closes with a love duet for Costanza and Riccardo.
Riccardo tells Oronte how Isacio has gone back on his word and launched an attack against Riccardo at the moment that he was about to leave with Costanza. Despite the help of Oronte's forces, Costanza is taken back by Isacio. Pulcheria, seeing the captive Costanza's distress, offers herself as a hostage to Riccardo's forces. Isacio offers his prisoner his hand in his throne. Berardo intervenes to announce the renewed approach of the English army. Isacio is defiant; as Riccardo bursts into the palace, Isacio threatens to kill Costanza. As Riccardo is about to concede, Pulcheria seizes a sword and announces she will kill herself if Costanza is harmed. In the following confusion Oronte enters and his superior forces prompt Isacio to flee; the women are left alone to hope for a just victory for Riccardo and Oronte returns to announce that the English king has been victorious. Riccardo dispenses justice. Isacio is allowed to live. Pulcheria, with Oronte as her husband, shall reign in place of her father.
The German-born Handel, after spending some of his early career composing operas and other pieces in Italy, settled in London, where in 1711 he had introduced Italian opera for the first time with his opera Rinaldo. A tremendous success, Rinaldo created a craze in London for Italian opera seria, a form focused overwhelmingly on solo arias for the star virtuoso singers. In 1719, Handel was appointed music director of an organisation called the Royal Academy of Music, a company under royal charter to produce Italian operas in London. Handel was not only to compose operas for the company but hire the star singers, supervise the orchestra and musicians, adapt operas from Italy for London performance. Handel had composed numerous Italian operas with varying degrees of success; the castrato Senesino and the soprano Francesca Cuzzoni had appeared in a succession of Handel operas for the Academy most of, successful with audiences, in 1726 the directors of the Academy brought over another intern
Alessandro, is an opera composed by George Frideric Handel in 1726 for the Royal Academy of Music. Paolo Rolli's libretto is based on the story of Ortensio Mauro's La superbia d'Alessandro; this was the first time the famous singers Faustina Bordoni and Francesca Cuzzoni appeared together in one of Handel's operas. The original cast included Francesco Bernardi, known as Senesino. Handel had planned Alessandro to be his first contribution to the 1725—1726 season of the Royal Academy. However, Bordoni did not arrive in London in time to stage Alessandro, Handel substituted his own Scipione in March and April 1726 until her arrival; the opera received its first performance on 5 May 1726 at the King's Theatre and was received "with great applause". The story recounts Alexander the Great's journey to India and depicts him less in a heroic vein than as vainglorious as well as indecisive in matters of the heart; the work's charm and lightness of touch make it at times a comic work. The German-born Handel, after spending some of his early career composing operas and other pieces in Italy, settled in London, where in 1711 he had brought Italian opera for the first time with his opera Rinaldo.
A tremendous success, Rinaldo created a craze in London for Italian opera seria, a form focused overwhelmingly on solo arias for the star virtuoso singers. In 1719, Handel was appointed music director of an organisation called the Royal Academy of Music, a company under royal charter to produce Italian operas in London. Handel was not only to compose operas for the company but hire the star singers, supervise the orchestra and musicians, adapt operas from Italy for London performance. Handel had composed numerous Italian operas with varying degrees of success. In February 1726 Handel revived his Ottone, spectacularly successful at its first performances in 1723 and was again a hit at its revival, with a London newspaper reporting Handel had the satisfaction of seeing an Old Opera of his not only fill the House, which had not been done for some time, but above three hundred turn'd away for want of room; as the newspaper notes, full houses were by no means a regular occurrence by that time, the directors of the Royal Academy of Music decided to increase audiences' interest by bringing another celebrated international opera star, Italian soprano Faustina Bordoni, to join established London favourites Francesca Cuzzoni and the star castrato Senesino in the company's performances.
Many opera companies in Italy featured two leading ladies in one opera and Faustina and Cuzzoni had appeared together in opera performances in various European cities with no trouble. The three stars, Bordoni and Senesino commanded astronomical fees, making much more money from the opera seasons than Handel did; the opera company would have been aware that the story of the two princesses in love with Alexander the Great chosen for the two prima donnas' first joint appearance was familiar to London audiences through a tragedy by Nathaniel Lee, The Rival Queens, or the Death of Alexander the Great, first performed in 1677 and revived and it may be that they were encouraging the idea that the two singers were rivals. One of the agents who had arranged Faustina's appearances in London, Owen Swiny, explicitly warned against the choice of libretto as to cause "disorder" in a letter to the directors of the Royal Academy of Music, imploring them: never to consent to any thing that can put the Academy into disorder, as it must if what I hear … is put in Execution: I mean the opera of Alexander the great.
The performances of Alessandro went off with no signs of animosity between Bordoni and Cuzzoni or their respective supporters, but it was not long after that tension between the two erupted. As 18th century musicologist Charles Burney observed about the Cuzzoni / Faustina rivalry, which became acute around the time of the performances of a subsequent Handel opera, Admeto: it seems impossible for two singers of equal merit to tread the stage a parte eguale, as for two people to ride on the same horse, without one being behind; the Royal Academy of Music collapsed at the end of the 1728 - 29 season due to the huge fees paid to the star singers, Cuzzoni and Faustina both left London for engagements in continental Europe. Handel started a new opera company with Anna Strada. One of Handel's librettists, Paolo Rolli, wrote in a letter that Handel said that Strada "sings better than the two who have left us, because one of them never pleased him at all and he would like to forget the other." Place: Oxidraca, India Time: Approx.
326 BC A battle is in progress with Alessandro, besieging the Indian city of Oxidraca. Despite the many victories he has won elsewhere, the city's defenders get the best of his army and he is in personal danger when he is rescued by his general Clito, Prince of Macedonia. In Alexander's camp, two princesses, both in love with Alessandro, are much concerned for his safety—Lisaura, a princess of Scythia, Rossane, a princess taken captive by Alessandro in his previous campaign in Persia; the rival princesses are tormented by jealousy for Alessandro seems unable to make up his mind which of them he prefers. The Indian King Tassile, whose life Alessandro saved and whose throne he restored, brings the glad tidings to the princesses that Alessandro is safe and unharmed
Lotario is an opera seria in three acts by George Frideric Handel. The Italian-language libretto was adapted from Antonio Salvi's Adelaide; the opera was first given at the King's Theatre in London on 2 December 1729. The story of the opera is a fictionalisation of some events in the life of Holy Roman Empress Adelaide of Italy. Paolo Rolli commented in a letter at the time to Giuseppe Riva that "everyone thinks a bad opera". There were 10 performances. Handel reused pieces in operas; as with all Baroque opera seria, Lotario went unperformed for many years, but with the revival of interest in Baroque music and informed musical performance since the 1960s,Lotario, like all Handel operas, receives performances at festivals and opera houses today. Among other performances, Lotario was staged at the London Handel Festival in 1999, by the Handel Festival, Halle in 2004 and by the Stadttheater Bern, Switzerland, in 2019. Scene:Italy, about 950. Before the action begins, Berengario had ruled Italy together with Adelaide's husband, but desiring all the power for himself, Berengario had Adelaide's husband poisoned and tried to force her to marry his son Idelberto, who loves her.
Adelaide refused, now, as Queen of Italy, she has taken refuge in a fortress in Pavia. Berengario has sent his son Idalberto to storm the walls of Pavia, he receives news. Matilde, Berengario's wife and his match in ambition and rage, announces that she has bribed Adelaide's soldiers to open the gates of Pavia to their forces, her son is in love with Adelaide and begs his parents not to do anything that will endanger her, but Matilde will not be moved - Adelaide must marry Idelberto or face death. In the castle at Pavia, Adelaide receives the German King Lotario, who has not only brought his army to her aid but loves her too, she urges him to fight Berengario and Matilde. He will do so, he says. Clorimondo, Berengario's general, appears to Adelaide and tells her she must either marry the son or be killed by the father but Adelaide puts her trust in Lotario. Berengario takes Pavia owing to the treachery of Adelaide's troops but she adamantly refuses to marry his son. Berengario goes to fight Lotario's army, leaving Adelaide with his wife Matilde, who loads her with chains and throws her in the dungeon.
Berengario is captured. He is a prisoner of war, Lotario reflects that he is a prisoner to love. In the dungeon, Adelaide is a prisoner and does not realise that Lotario has defeated her enemy. Clorimondo enters with a crown in one hand and a vial of poison in the other - Adelaide can choose to be Idalberto's queen, or die. Adelaide, egged on by Matilde, chooses the poison and is about to swallow it when Idalberto bursts into the prison cell, he is prevented by his mother. When Adelaide is once again about to swallow the poison, Idalberto draws his dagger and threatens to kill himself, whereupon Matilde dashes the poisoned drink from Adelaide's hands. Matilde is not happy about this outcome however and warns her son to expect pain and Adelaide to look forward to punishment. Left alone together, Adelaide thanks Idalberto for saving her but says she can never love him. Idalberto accepts this and proclaims he will be content to admire her from a distance Adelaide is touched and grateful for his devotion.
In captivity and Matilde appeal to Adelaide to stop the war by using her influence with Lotario to have them crowned king and queen of Italy. Adelaide refuses. Berengario is beginning to regret his cruelty; the two armies rush into battle, Lotario seeing that Adelaide is in danger, calls a truce. Idalberto offers to die instead of Adelaide, however his father will not accept this, so the fighting starts again. Clorimondo worries that he may have backed the losing side in this struggle and reflects on the transitory nature of human fortunes. Idalberto discovers his mother arming herself for battle, ready to fight alongside her troops, he begs her not to. Clorimundo enters with the news that the battle is over and Lotario has won; the enraged Matilde accuses her son of causing this defeat and orders Adelaide brought to her so that she can kill her with her own hands but is told that Adelaide has been released. Idalberto suggests to his mother that she kill him instead which strikes Matilde as a good idea, but she cannot quite bring herself to do it.
The victorious Lotario enters and orders Matilde arrested whereupon she tries to commit suicide but is prevented. Lotario lets Adelaide decide what is to become of Matilde. Adelaide shows them forgiveness. Lotario and Adelaide will rule Germany, they celebrate their love for one another. The German-born Handel, after spending some of his early career composing operas and other pieces in Italy, settled in London, where in 1711 he had brought Italian opera for the first time with his opera Rinaldo. A tremendous success, Rinaldo created a craze in London for Italian opera seria, a form focused overwhelmingly on solo arias for the star virtuoso singers. In 1719, Handel was appointed music director of an organisation called the Royal Academy of Music (
Arminio is an opera composed by George Frideric Handel. The libretto is based on a libretto of the same name by Antonio Salvi, set to music by Alessandro Scarlatti, it is a fictionalisation of events surrounding the Germanic leader Arminius, who defeated the Romans under Publius Quinctilius Varus in AD 9, his wife Thusnelda. The opera was performed for the first time at the Covent Garden Theatre on 12 January 1737; the German-born Handel had brought Italian opera to London stages for the first time in 1711 with his opera Rinaldo. An enormous success, Rinaldo created a craze in London for Italian opera seria, a form focused overwhelmingly on solo arias for the star virtuoso singers. Handel had presented new operas in London for years with great success. One of the major attractions in Handel's operas was the star castrato Senesino whose relationship with the composer was stormy and who left Handel's company to appear with the rival Opera of the Nobility, set up in 1733 and with the Prince of Wales as a major sponsor.
Handel moved to another theatre, Covent Garden, engaged different singers, but there was not enough of an audience for opera in London, or aristocratic supporters to back it, for two opera houses at once, both opera companies found themselves in difficulty. Together with Giustino and Berenice, Arminio is one of three operas Handel wrote within a period of half a year in 1736, he began with the composition of Giustino on 14 August 1736, followed by that of Arminio on 15 September. Having finished Arminio he resumed work on Giustino. In Mid-December, he went on to compose Berenice. Giustino followed Arminio on to the stage in February; the opera was esteemed by Handel's admirers but not by the ticket-buying public. Anthony Ashley Cooper, 4th Earl of Shaftesbury wrote in a letter that he found Arminio to be "rather grave but correct and labour'd" "to the highest degree & is a favourite one with Handel.... But I fear'twill not be acted long; the Town dont much admire it."Arminio only saw six performances, the last one on 12 February.
It was not performed again until it was revived at Leipzig. With the revival of interest in Baroque music and informed musical performance since the 1960s, like all Handel operas, is performed at festivals and opera houses today. Among other productions, the opera was staged by the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe in 2016. Place:Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Time: 9 A. D. Arminio, chieftain of a Germanic tribe who has taken up arms to fight against the Roman invasion of his country, yields to his wife Tusnelda's entreaties to retire from the field of battle lest they should both be taken prisoner.. They leave as Tullio enter. Tullio informs the Roman general Varo that Arminio has retreated and Varo reveals that he is in love with Arminio's wife Tusnelda. Tullio advises him to forget about such an unworthy passion and fight for Rome's triumph instead but Varo responds that love can inspire great feats of glory. Arminio appears, in chains, captured by Segeste, a Germanic chieftain, collaborating with the Romans and is Arminio's father-in-law.
Arminio denounces Segeste for his treachery and Tusnelda is torn between loyalty to her husband and her father. Varo demands that Arminio accept subjugation to Rome, but Arminio insists he would rather die and is taken away. Segeste advises; the scene changes to the castle of Segeste, where Sigismondo, his son, has been dreaming of Ramise, Arminio's sister, with whom he is madly in love. She and Tusnelda appear on the scene and Tusnelda informs them that her father Segeste has handed Arminio over to the Romans. Ramise is distressed by the threat to her brother's life; when Sigismondo asks Tusnelda for sympathy in this situation, she points out that his dilemma is nothing as to hers, torn as she is between loyalty to her husband and her father. Segeste commands his son to abandon any hope of wedding Ramise but Sigismondo asserts that he would prefer to die. Tullio informs Segeste that the Roman general Varo is in love with his daughter and Arminio's wife Tusnelda. Segeste is happy to hear it and looks forward to Varo becoming his new son-in-law once Arminio is dead.
Varo appears with a letter from Caesar ordering Arminio's execution and Segeste is eager for this to occur. Arminio once is thrown into prison under sentence of death. Tusnelda is beside herself with grief. Ramise denounces Segeste for collaborating with the Romans and sending her brother Arminio to execution and attempts to stab him. Sigismondo intervenes however and saves his father's life, whereupon Ramise bitterly upbraids him. Sigismondo attempts to kill himself but Ramise prevents him from doing so. Ramise is suffering from divided loyalties between her lover and her brother and Sigismondo is torn. Arminio, in prison, tells Varo that he knows that he loves his wife and gives his blessing for their marriage after his death, which he accepts. Tusnelda however tells Varo. Varo pledges to do this and Tusnelda swears to be grateful. Arminio is brought to his place of execution but still breathes defiance to Rome (Aria:Rit
Amadigi di Gaula
Amadigi di Gaula is a "magic" opera in three acts, with music by George Frideric Handel. It was the fifth Italian opera that Handel wrote for London and was composed during his stay at Burlington House in 1715, it is based on Amadis de Grèce, a French tragédie-lyrique by André Cardinal Destouches and Antoine Houdar de la Motte. Charles Burney maintained near the end of the eighteenth century, Amadigi contained "...more invention and good composition, than in any one of the musical dramas of Handel which I have yet and critically examined.”The opera received its first performance in London at the King's Theatre in the Haymarket on 25 May 1715. Handel made prominent use of wind instruments, so the score is unusually colorful, at points resembles the Water Music, which he composed only a few years later. Exceptional care was lavished on the production. Amadigi employs no voices lower than alto and it ends in a minor key; the opera was a success and received a known minimum of 17 further performances in London through 1717.
The identity of the librettist is not known for certain. Previous consensus had been that John Jacob Heidegger, who signed the dedication to Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington was the author, but more recent research has indicated that the librettist was more to be Giacomo Rossi, with Nicola Francesco Haym as a more probable candidate; this libretto is an adaptation of a medieval Spanish knight-errantry epic Amadis de Gaula in which the King of Gaul, educated in Scotland, falls in love with and marries Oriana, daughter of the King of England. David Kimbell compared in detail the treatments of the story by Destouches. What interested Handel was the sufferings of the four characters. Not the descriptive effects of his “magic” operas; the sole preoccupation of each of the protagonists is to make the others fall in or out of love with them. In act 2 Amadigi addresses the Fountain of True Love in a long cavatina of the utmost sensuous beauty; this scene was famous for its spectacular effects. The “coup de theatre” was the use of a real fountain spraying real water.
The scene employed a large number of stage engineers and plumbers, among other things, such that the following newspaper announcement appeared on the day of the premiere: “whereas there is a great many Scenes and Machines to be mov’d in this Opera, which cannot be done if persons should stand upon the Stage, it is therefore hop’d no Body the Subscribers, will take ill that they must be deny’d Entrance on the Stage.”According to Winton Dean the quality of the score the first two acts, is remarkably high, but it shows less careful organization than most of the operas. He states that the tonal design seems off balance; the conception of an opera as a coherent structural organism was slow to capture Handel's imagination. The original manuscript of Amadigi has disappeared, along with ballet sections in the music. Only one edition of the libretto is known, dating from 1715. Two published editions of the opera exist, the Händelgesellschaft edition of 1874, the first critical edition, by J. Merrill Knapp, which Bärenreiter published in 1971.
Dean has examined the history of various manuscripts which contain alternative selections for the score. The opera is scored for two recorders, two oboes, trumpet and basso continuo; the singer Elisabetta Pilotti-Schiavonetti in the role of Melissa, who specialised in playing sorceresses, for whom Handel had written the similar parts of the witch-like Armida in Rinaldo and Medea in Teseo is distinguished in Handel's music between her vengeful character and that of the other leading female part, the sweet Princess Oriana. Hamburg with a different title, Oriana; the opera fell into neglect and was not revived until 1929 in Osnabrück and subsequently in England in 1968, by Unicorn Opera at the Abbey Hall, Oxfordshire. With the revival of interest in Baroque music and informed musical performance since the 1960s, Amadigi di Gaula, like all Handel operas, receives performances at festivals and opera houses today. Among other performances, the opera received its North American premiere in March 2003 at Western University's Don Wright Faculty of Music. and the first staged production in North America was in July 2011 at Central City Opera in Central City, Colorado.
A production of Amadigi di Gaula was seen at the Göttingen International Handel Festival in 2012 and the opera received a production by Haymarket Opera, Chicago in 2015. Amadis de Gaula by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo is a prose pastoral romance written towards the close of the fourteenth century; the work has a complicated history. Oriana was heiress to the throne of England. Amadis of Gaul is a prince born of a secret amour, educated in Scotland, reared as a knight, serving devotedly the fair English princess Oriana. For her sake he contends against monsters and enchantments, defends her father's kingdom from an oppressor. Richard B. Beams wrote: The plot ranges across the continent to Romania and Constantinople, in the continuations as far as the Holy Land and the Cyclades. However, the romance's geography cannot be mapped onto the "real" Europe: it contains just as many fantastic places as real ones. Amadís was influential amongst the Spanish conquistadores. Bernal Diaz del Castillo mentioned the wonders of Amadís upon witnessing the wonders of the New World – and such place names as California and Patagonia come directly from the work.
Amadigi, a Paladin, Dardano, the Prince of Thrace, are both enamoured with Oriana, the daughter of the King of the Fortunate Isles. Oriana prefers Amadigi in her
Scipione - or Publio Cornelio Scipione - is an opera seria in three acts, with music composed by George Frideric Handel for the Royal Academy of Music in 1726. The librettist was Paolo Antonio Rolli. Handel composed Scipione whilst in the middle of writing Alessandro, it was based upon the life of Roman General Scipio Africanus. Its slow march is the regimental march of the Grenadier Guards and is played at London Metropolitan police passing out ceremonies. Scipione had its premiere on 12 March 1726 at Haymarket. Handel revived the opera in 1730, but it did not receive another UK production until October 1967, by the Handel Opera Society. In Germany, Scipione was revived at the Göttingen International Handel Festival in 1937 and at the annual Handel Festival in Halle in 1965. With the revival of interest in Baroque music and informed musical performance since the 1960s,Scipione, like all Handel operas, receives performances at festivals and opera houses today; the setting is New Carthage, 210 BCE, after the Roman army, led by Scipione has captured the city from the Carthaginians and their Spanish allies.
Scipione leads a procession of captives into the city through the triumphal arch. He salutes his officers, with a particular laurel for Lelio. Lelio, in return, offers the prisoner Berenice to Scipione. Scipione is attracted to Berenice, but vows to respect her honour. Berenice is in love with the Spanish prince Lucejo, among the Roman army incognito, he vows to rescue her. Lelio himself is attracted to another prisoner, but she will not return the affection whilst a prisoner; this begins to draw Lelio in sympathy with the female prisoners, although he does advise Berenice to accept Scipione's affection. The female prisoners are confined in a palace with a garden, but Scipione has forbidden strangers to enter. Still disguised, Lucejo hides when he hears Scipione approaching. Scipione proclaims his love for her. Lucejo cannot tolerate this, betrays his presence by his exclamation. Berenice tries to protect Lucejo by begging for mercy. Alone at the end of the act, Lucejo begins to become jealous. Ernando, father to Berenice, has arrived to offer a ransom for his daughter and friendship to Scipione.
Scipione tries again to woo Berenice. After Scipione has left, Lucejo reappears; this confirms Lucejo's initial jealous suspicions, but Berenice feels torn. With his jealous feelings, Lucejo does not break with Berenice, but he does pretend to express affection for Armira, in the expectation that Berenice will overhear this. Both Berenice and Armira are distressed at the situation, Scipione arrives, angry to see Lucejo in the garden. Lucejo now confesses his identity and his plans, challenges Scipione to a duel. Scipione orders the arrest of Lucejo. Berenice admits that she could love a Roman, if she had not promised herself to another. Scipione offers Ernando freedom on condition that he may marry her. Ernando replies that he would willingly give up his life and kingdom, but that he cannot break his earlier promise to Lucejo of Berenice in marriage; this nobility impresses Scipione, who plans to send Lucejo to Rome as a prisoner. He further ponders the situation, resolves to sacrifice his own personal desires for the greater happiness of the others.
He tells Berenice of his change of heart. He accepts the ransom offer from frees Berenice, saying that she may marry Lucejo. Furthermore, he gives the ransom to the couple as a wedding present. All present praise Scipione's generosity, Lucejo vows loyalty to Rome for himself and his subjects; the German-born Handel, after spending some of his early career composing operas and other pieces in Italy, settled in London, where in 1711 he had brought Italian opera for the first time with his opera Rinaldo. A tremendous success, Rinaldo created a craze in London for Italian opera seria, a form focused overwhelmingly on solo arias for the star virtuoso singers. In 1719, Handel was appointed music director of an organisation called the Royal Academy of Music, a company under royal charter to produce Italian operas in London. Handel was not only to compose operas for the company but hire the star singers, supervise the orchestra and musicians, adapt operas from Italy for London performance. Within the year 1724-1725, Handel wrote three great operas in succession for the Royal Academy of Music, each with Senesino and Francesca Cuzzoni as the stars, Giulio Cesare,Tamerlano, Rodelinda.
The directors of the Royal Academy of Music decided to increase the appeal of the operas by bringing another internationally famous singer, the soprano Faustina Bordoni, to join the established London stars Cuzzoni and Senesino, as was reported in the London press - the Daily Journal wrote on 31 August 1725'We hear that the Royal Academy Musick, in the Hay Market, have contracted with famous Chauntess for 2500 l., coming over from Italy against the Winter' with the London Journal adding "'Signiora Faustina, a famous Italian Lady, is coming over this Winter to rival Signiora Cuzzoni". However Faustina did not arrive when expected, which meant that the opera Handel was composing to feature two important leading ladies, was not suitable for the gap in the opera house's schedule which had to be filled. For this reason he composed Scipione in three weeks and it received its first performance ten days after he finished composing it; the haste in which Scipione was put toget
Deidamia is an opera in three acts composed by George Frideric Handel to an Italian libretto by Paolo Antonio Rolli. It premiered on 10 January 1741 at London. A ballad opera on the same story by John Gay had been performed in London in 1733, under the title Achilles. Handel's opera, a co-production with the Earl of Holderness, was first performed on 10 January 1741 at London's Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre, but received only two more performances at a time when the public was becoming tired of Italian opera; the work was Handel's last Italian opera, he subsequently turned his attention to composing oratorios. The opera was revived in the 1950s and it receives staged performances today, e.g. the 2012 staging by David Alden for Netherlands Opera. The opera is based upon the Greek mythological character Deidamia, the daughter of King Lycomedes of Skyros, who bore a child by Achilles, as told in the stories of Achilles on Skyros; the oracle predicted. In an attempt to forestall this fate, his father Peleus has disguised him as a girl and sent him to live in the palace of his friend Lycomedes, on the island of Skyros, where he is brought up amongst Lycomedes' daughters and becomes the lover of the eldest, Deidamia.
As the Greeks prepare for their war against Troy, the priest Calchas reveals that the city cannot be taken without Achilles' help. Ambassadors are sent to Skyros to retrieve him; the ambassadors from Agamemnon arrive on Skyros: Ulysses, disguised under the name of Antilochus and Nestor. Ulysses asks Lycomedes to contribute military help to the expedition, to which he agrees. Loyal to his friend Peleus, Lycomedes denies that he is sheltering Achilles, but permits his guests to search for him. Inside the palace, Deidamia waits longingly for her beloved Pyrrha to return from hunting. Pyrrha - Achilles in disguise - returns flushed with his exertions and rebukes the women for sitting idly indoors; the women leave Achilles together. Deidamia chides Achilles for being more in love with the chase than with her. Achilles admits that he is not prepared to sacrifice his freedom. Deidamia's confidante, the princess Nerea, brings news of the strangers arrived from mainland Greece in search of Achilles. Deidamia is anxious on Achilles' behalf and a short conversation with Ulysses convinces her that they must be on their guard.
In the palace garden Achilles sees Deidamia talking to Ulysses and is fascinated by his armour and manliness. He listens to their conversations, as Ulysses now pays court to Deidamia in order to win her confidence, Deidamia politely but refuses him. Stung with jealousy, Achilles petulantly berates her for encouraging Ulysses' attention. Nerea brings news. Deidamia is alarmed that Achilles' hunting skill will betray his identity, but Nerea has been courted by Phoenix and suggests that she and Deidamia distract the Greeks by appearing to respond to their addresses. Deidamia agrees, but begins to wonder whether Achilles' angry outburst covered a real resolution to abandon her. Lycomedes recommends the hunting on his estate to Ulysses; the hunt begins, Nerea attaches herself to Phoenix, gaily taunting him with being more interested in the hunt than in her. Ulysses has been watching'Pyrrha' and now joins Phoenix: the strange girl's strength and skill in hunting have convinced him that'she' is in fact Achilles in disguise.
Finding an opportunity to draw'Pyrrha' aside Ulysses begins a feigned declaration of love. As soon as Ulysses leaves she furiously attacks Achilles for thoughtlessly risking exposure and their happiness. Achilles shrugs off her anger and is about to rejoin the hunt when he is now stopped by Phoenix, who engages him in conversation. Achilles' lack of interest in love convinces Phoenix that Ulysses was correct:'Pyrrha' is in fact a man. Phoenix tries to persuade Nerea that he is in earnest: as a Greek woman herself she should be proud, not jealous, that he is soon to leave for the Trojan war. Nerea realises. Ulysses and Phoenix put into practice a scheme to unmask Achilles, they present the women of the court with a chest of ribbons and other finery. As Deidamia frantically urges Achilles to show a girlish interest in them, he instinctively reaches for a helmet and sword cunningly placed amongst the trinkets. A call to arms sounds, he brandishes the sword ready for action, he has betrayed himself, Ulysses confronts him with his true identity, urging him to join the Greek force massing against Troy.
Achilles enthusiastically agrees. Grief-stricken at the thought of losing him, Deidamia curses Ulysses for destroying her happiness. Deidamia confesses her love for Achilles. Though he blesses their love he tells her that it can last only until Achilles departs, reveals the prediction that Achilles will die at Troy. Achilles, now at last dressed as a man, comes to Deidamia and proposes that they marry but her anger and distress at his imminent departure lead them into a quarrel. Ulysses pacifies them by revealing his own identity: he too has famously left his much-loved wife Penelope to go to war, to the greater glory of them both. Deidamia will not be comforted. Nerea accuses Phoenix of feigning lo