George Frideric Handel: Ariodante

(1619 words)

The first production of Ariodante in 1735 opened a new phase of Handel’s opera-writing career. The sensational success of John Gay’s parody of Italian opera, The Beggar’s Opera of 1728, had been allowed, by some, to have had a greater impact on the musical life of London than it deserved. Alexander Pope, in a footnote to his 1729 Variorum edition of the Dunciad, celebrated the success of his friend’s play, claiming: “it drove out of England the Italian Opera, which had carry’d all before it for ten years” (Pope, 190). By 1735 Pope had had to change his annotation to read: “it drove out of England for that season the Italian Opera” (Pope, 190). The myth that Handel rather turned …

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Alsop, Derek . "Ariodante". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 June 2012
[, accessed 29 April 2016.]