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date: 14 November 2019

Alessandro (‘Alexander’)locked

  • Anthony Hicks

Extract

(‘Alexander’)

Opera in three acts by George Frideric Handel to a libretto by Paolo Antonio Rolli based on Ortensio Mauro ’s La superbia d’Alessandro (1690, Hanover); London, King’s Theatre, 5 May 1726.

Alessandro was Handel’s ninth full-length opera for the Royal Academy of Music and the first of the group of five in which the leading female roles were designed for the rival sopranos Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni; they sang Lisaura and Roxana. The other singers included the castratos Senesino (Alexander) and Antonio Baldi (Taxiles), the tenor Luigi Antinori (Leonnatus), the contralto Anna Vincenza Dotti (Cleon) and the bass Giuseppe Boschi (Clitus). The opera was completed on 11 April 1726, less than a month before its production as the last of the 1725–6 season, but had been begun some months earlier in anticipation of Faustina’s arrival in London (Handel broke off composition to write Scipione). Owen Swiney, writing from Venice on ...

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Princeton (NJ), Princeton University, Firestone Memorial Library