[HWV 12a]. Il Radamisto Opera Rapresentata nel Regio Teatro D'Hay Market. [Score]

London: Published by the Author. Printed and Sold by Richard Meares Musical-Instrument-Maker and Musick-Printer in St. Pauls Church yd. & by Christopher Smith at ye. Hand & Musick-Book in Coventry-Street near ye Hay-Market, [1720].

Tall folio. Newly bound in mid-tan calf with dark red leather title label gilt to spine.

1f. (recto title, verso blank), 1f. (recto privilege and dedication to King George I dated 14 June 1720 with elaborate woodcut royal coat of arms to head, verso blank), [i] (blank), 121 pp. Engraved. With printed page numbers throughout and "Fine dell opera the whole Engrav'd by T. Cross" printed to foot of page 121.

With stamped sale number ("16") to upper outer corner of title (Smith) and early manuscript annotation to upper portion of title including the number "92."

Very slightly worn; occasional minor soiling, including to title.

A very good copy overall, with strong impression.

First Edition, first issue. Rare. With the Privilege not present in some copies.

HWV 12a. Händel-Handbuch I, 172. Smith p. 53 no. 1. BUC p. 429. Hoboken Vol. 5, 29. RISM H258.

Radamisto, with text by Nicola F. Haymn after the Italian drama L'Amor tirannico O Zenobia by D. Lalli, was first performed at the King's Theatre in London on 17 April 1720.

"The printing of the score was heralded by a publicity campaign. A press announcement on 12 July 1720 stated that it "is now Engraving finely upon Copper Plates by Richard Meares, Musical Instrument-Maker and Musick-Printer ... NB To make this Work the more acceptable, the Author has been prevailed with to correct the whole'. On 3 December 'the Printer presumes to assert that there hath not been in Europe a Piece of Musick so well printed, and upon so good Paper' ... It appeared on 15 December, fortified by a Privilege of Copyright granted to Handel on 14 June ... The name of the engraver, Thomas Cross, appears on the last page of the score, which is indeed a handsome volume. Smith's name confirms that Handel was concerned in the publication, but there is no proof that he corrected the plates or supplied the bass figuring ..." Dean and Knapp: Handel's Operas 1704-1726, pp. 365-366.

"... on April 27, Radamisto, Handel's first opera for the Academy, was presented to a full house, the King and "his ladies," as well as the Prince of Wales, being in the audience. Mainwaring says that "several gentlemen were turned back, who had offered forty shillings for a seat in the gallery" (usually selling for two shillings and sixpence). The success was tremendous, and indeed Radamisto is one of Handel's great operas. It has a good libretto, and the work is well and tightly composed even though the proportions are large. Radamisto contains elaborate instrumental numbers, ritornels and preludes, in addition to a wealth of great arias." Lang: Handel, pp. 174-175.

"Radamisto proved to be one of the greatest operas [Handel] ever produced in England... The crowds flocked to Radamisto like a modern mob to a notorious prize-fight, and the opera had an unbroken run till the season ended on 25th June ... Radamisto was easily the most popular opera of its epoch ... The airs from Radamisto were being sung everywhere." Flower: Handel, pp. 128-129.

Item #38333

Price: $6,800.00  other currencies

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