George Frideric Handel: Ariodante (1619 words)


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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 …

Citation: Alsop, Derek . "Ariodante". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 June 2012 [, accessed 27 January 2022.]

34240 Ariodante 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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