Handel seems to have written Silla
for a private production in London in June 1713. Rossi again supplied the libretto, based on Plutarch’s biography of the Roman dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla. A wordbook was printed for the occasion, but no actual record of a performance has been found. The surviving score lacks music to cover several elaborate scenic effects described in the stage directions, and may therefore be a draft that was never completed or which Handel expanded in a lost manuscript. The unpublished Overture begins in the usual French style, with a majestic introduction alternating with a fugal fast movement, but then continues with an attractive Andante featuring a solo oboe, forerunner of a similar movement in the concerto grosso Op 3 No 4.
from notes by Anthony Hicks © 1996