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date: 15 December 2019

Deidamialocked

  • Anthony Hicks

Extract

Opera in three acts by George Frideric Handel to a libretto by Paolo Antonio Rolli; London, Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre, 10 January 1741.

Deidamia was Handel’s last opera. He completed the autograph score on 20 November 1740, though new settings of three of the arias for Neraea (sung by Maria Monza) were probably composed later. Achilles was written for Miss Edwards (later Mrs Mozeen), Deidamia for Elisabeth Duparc (‘La Francesina’), Ulysses for the castrato Giovanni Andreoni and the bass roles for Henry Reinhold (Lycomedes) and William Savage (Phoenix). Like its companion Imeneo, Deidamia seems to be a deliberate attempt at a lighter style of opera, perhaps in emulation of similar pieces promoted by Lord Middlesex at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket the previous two seasons; but it failed to recapture the waning public interest in Handel’s operas. It received only three performances, two at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in a mixed season of opera, ode and oratorio, and the third and last (on 10 February) at the Little Theatre, the only occasion Handel ever performed there; the significance of the change of venue is not known....

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