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date: 20 November 2019

Floridantelocked

  • Anthony Hicks

Extract

Opera in three acts by George Frideric Handel to a libretto by Paolo Antonio Rolli based on Francesco Silvani ’s La costanza in trionfo (1696, Venice, as revised for Livorno, 1706); London, King’s Theatre, 9 December 1721.

Floridante was the first new opera of the Royal Academy of Music’s third London season. The roles of Floridante and Timante were sung by the castratos Senesino and Berselli, Elmira by the contralto Anastasia Robinson and Rossane by Maddalena Salvai. (Handel first intended Elmira to be sung by the soprano Margherita Durastanti and Rossane by Robinson; he composed Act 1 and most of Act 2 before inverting the voice ranges of these roles.)

Handel first revived the opera on 4 December 1722, when Durastanti took over Rossane and the alto castrato Gaetano Berenstadt Timante. The score was extensively revised, all three arias from the cantata Crudele tiranno amor (with altered words) being added to Rossane’s part. Handel arranged two further revivals, in ...

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