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Handel and the Rival Queens

Handel and the Rival Queens

Two feisty modern-day sopranos take on the roles of the great rival divas of Handel’s London operas of the 1720s, Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni. Handel’s constant struggle to make Italian opera both financially and socially stable led him to one of his most intriguing, risky, and ultimately downright disastrous ideas. Why have one prima donna when you can have two? An opera company with two prima donnas was never going to be plain sailing… join us and find out just what happened to these ‘Rival Queens’ before, during and after their reigns in London, as our programme of arias, duets, and overtures is interspersed with readings from letters, newspapers, and satirical writings from those turbulent years.

We welcome back Early Opera Company after their stunning debut in the 2018 Festival.

Their programme will include:

Overtures to Ottone HWV 15, Alessandro HWV 2, Admeto HWV 22 and Polifemo (Porpora)
Lusinghe piu care… Che tirannia d’Amor! & Placa l’alma, quieta il petto! Alessandro HWV 21
Che sento?… Se pieta Giulio Cesare HWV 17
Spietati, io vi giurai’ Rodelinda HWV 19
Qual tempesta d’affeti… Son qual misera colomba Cleofide (Hasse)

Mhairi Lawson Faustina Bordoni
Mary Bevan Francesca Cuzzoni
Narrator to be announced

Christian Curnyn director
Early Opera Company

Please note that booking for this performance should be made directly through the St John’s Smith Square Box Office. Public booking for this event will open from 28 January. Please call 020 7222 1061 or click here.

We are grateful to Mary Bevan who replaces Eleanor Dennis for this performance.

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