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Serious Operas Vol. VIII

  • Object:

    Libretto

  • Place of origin:

    London (performed)

  • Date:

    1720 (printed)
    27 April 1720 (performed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wood, Thomas (printers)
    Handel, George Frideric, born 1685 - died 1759 (authors)
    Haym, Nicola Francesco, born 1678 - died 1729 (authors)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed ink on paper, and handwritten ink, bound in gold embossed leather

  • Museum number:

    S.501-1985

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Libretto for George Frideric Handel's three-act opera Radamisto, printed in London by Thomas Wood, 1720. The text is marked in manuscript as a prompt book for its first performance on 27 April, 1720 at the King's Theatre.

Radamisto was Handel’s first opera for the newly formed Royal Academy of Music and the Academy’s second production. The libretto bears the composer’s own dedication to King George I.

The manuscript markings note the performers' moves and calls and cue sound effects. It is a parallel text with Italian on one side of the leaf facing the English translation on the opposite page. As the auditorium was lit by candles, which could not be dimmed during the action on stage, the audience would have been able to read the text during the performance.

Physical description

Letterpress printed libretto for Handel's Radamisto, with manuscript notes, bound in leather and embossed with gold patterns and coat of arms on both back and front. Bound with five other opera librettos: Julius Caesar (1730), Farnace (1759), Scipione in Cartaigne (1742), Caduta de Giganti (1745) and Artamene (1746).

Place of Origin

London (performed)

Date

1720 (printed)
27 April 1720 (performed)

Artist/maker

Wood, Thomas (printers)
Handel, George Frideric, born 1685 - died 1759 (authors)
Haym, Nicola Francesco, born 1678 - died 1729 (authors)

Materials and Techniques

Printed ink on paper, and handwritten ink, bound in gold embossed leather

Marks and inscriptions

SERIOUS / OPERAS / VOL. VIII

Dimensions

Length: 182 mm head to tail of closed book closed, Width: 119 mm closed, Depth: 28 mm closed

Descriptive line

Libretto for George Frideric Handel's Radamisto

Labels and date

Prompt book for Radamisto
1720

This is one of the earliest prompt scripts in existence. The printed text is marked with the performers’ moves, entrances and exits, as well as sound effects. On one of the pages is the note ‘stone ready’ – a cue for the sound to accompany a suicide attempted by jumping in the river.

Opera by George Frideric Handel, libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym, 1720
King’s Theatre, London

Letterpress with manuscript annotations
Printed by Thomas Wood, London

Museum no. S.501-1985 []

Production Note

Radamisto first performed at the King's Theatre, libretto by Haym, music by Handel

Materials

Ink; Paper; Leather

Techniques

Letterpress printing; Handwriting; Embossing; Bookbinding

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Manuscripts; Printed pages & sheets

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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