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  • Stanley Sadie


Musical drama in three acts by George Frideric Handel to a libretto by Thomas Broughton after Sophocles ’ Trachiniae and Ovid ’s Metamorphoses; London, King’s Theatre, 5 January 1745 (concert performance).

Hercules is not an opera, nor (as it has sometimes been called) an oratorio. The original description was ‘musical drama’. It was not intended for staging, though like many of Handel’s biblical oratorios it shows signs of being conceived in visual terms and has several times been given on the stage. During the 1740s Handel was occupied principally with oratorios, many of which aspire to the nature of Greek tragedy in their treatment, and with ...

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