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date: 11 August 2020


  • Anthony Hicks


Drama per musica in three acts by George Frideric Handel to a libretto by Vincenzo Grimani ; Venice, Teatro S Giovanni Gristostomo, 26 December 1709.

Handel’s second and last opera written in Italy, Agrippina effectively established his international reputation. According to Mainwaring’s Memoirs of the Life of … Handel (1760) it was performed 27 times (not an unusual run for the main opera of the Venetian carnival) and was enthusiastically received with cries of ‘Viva il caro Sassone!’. The original cast included Margherita Durastanti (a former colleague from Rome) in the title role, Diamante Maria Scarabelli as Poppaea, Antonio Francesco Carli as Claudius, Francesca Vanini as Otho and her husband Giuseppe Maria Boschi as Pallas. Nero and Narcissus were sung by the castratos Valeriano Pellegrini and Giuliano Albertini. Elena Croce (listed as the Agrippina in one MS source) may have replaced Durastanti in some performances. The opera was subjected to revision before performance and possibly during its initial run: there are significant differences between Handel’s autograph and the printed wordbook of ...

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