Partenope HWV 27
George Frideric Handel
Armindo, mezzosoprano or alto
Ormonte, baritone or bass
Rosmira/Eurimene, mezzosoprano or alto
Arsace, mezzosoprano or alto
Opera in three acts
Piano reduction / vocal score / coil bound
Edition: OE 10270
The first ever vocal score (piano reduction) of Handel’s opera in three acts, Partenope, HWV 27. This vocal score is based primarily on Friedrich Chrysander’s edition of Partenope (HWV 27), produced by the German Handel Society (HG 78) and Handel’s 1730 autograph manuscript.
Contents: Preface, Index of numbers, Ouverture, Atto primo, Atto secondo, Atto terzo, Appendix I (HG), Appendix II (MS)
Backround:Handel’s first encounter with Stampiglia’s libretto was likely in 1708 during the Venice Carnival where he attended a performance of Antonio Caldara’s setting of the work. He was also familiar with Leonardo Vinci’s 1725 version, La Rosmira fedele, and this may have been what urged him to initially to compose his own setting. Handel first proposed the libretto of Partenope to the Royal Academy of Music in 1726, but it was rejected immediately, impresario Owen Swiny claiming “it is the very worst book (excepting one) that I ever read in my whole life.” Founded in 1719, the Royal Academy of Music had become known for their constant offerings of Italian opera seria to London audiences, and Partenope’s light-hearted, frivolous nature was seen as too much of a departure from what the audiences in England have come to expect on the stage. However, the Royal Academy of Music encountered trouble at the end of their 1727/28 season as their principle singers at the time had returned to Italy without any intention to return to the Hay-Market Theatre. Without any luck in recruiting new principle singers, the Academy was forced to abandon their 1728/29 season, and Lord Perceval of the Parliament wrote that the King’s Theatre and the Academy were to be made fully available to both Handel and Jacob Heidegger, the manager of the theater, for a minimum of five years. It was with this decision that the “Second Academy” was born, and with his new freedom to see his artistic endeavors brought to fruition, Handel promptly went to Italy to recruit new principle singers for the upcoming 1729/30 season. The Royal Family’s great support of the singers created quite a buzz around London, Princess Amelia claiming that “it is the compleatest troop one could have expected.” As Handel’s first premiere of the season, Lotario, was not very successful, he promptly revived his ever popular 1724 Giulio Cesare so he could direct all of his energy to finally creating his Partenope.