Hyperion Records

Deidamia, HWV42
first performed at Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, on 10 January 1741
author of text

'Handel: Opera Arias' (CDS44271/3)
Handel: Opera Arias
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'Handel: Opera Arias and Overtures, Vol. 2' (CDA67128)
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Act 3 Scene 2. Aria: M'hai resa infelice (Deidamia)
Track 12 on CDA67128 [3'55] Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3
Track 12 on CDS44271/3 CD3 [3'55] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 2 on CKD252 [4'22] Download only
Overture: Allegro
Track 11 on CDA67128 [3'52] Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3
Track 11 on CDS44271/3 CD3 [3'52] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Deidamia, HWV42
Deidamia, Handel’s last opera, has what seems to be an original libretto by Paolo Rolli and was first performed at Lincoln’s Inn Fields on 10 January 1741. It received only three performances. The Overture is in the French form, with a brisk and bouncy Allegro. Rolli based the story on the post-Homeric myth of the boyhood of the Greek hero Achilles. In an attempt to evade a prediction that he will die in war, the baby Achilles is disguised as a girl and sent to the island of Scyros. Lycomedes, the king of Scyros, brings him up with his real daughter Deidamia. As the children grow up, Deidamia inevitably learns Achilles’ true nature and the pair become lovers. When the Trojan War begins, the Greeks are told they cannot win without Achilles, and Ulysses undertakes to find him. The opera begins with his arrival on Scyros with other Greek rulers. Ulysses soon becomes suspicious of the boisterous character of Deidamia’s supposed sister. Eventually he tricks Achilles into revealing himself by offering him a choice of gifts. Achilles chooses a sword and armour rather than fine silks, and as he does so a trumpet sounds, calling all Greeks to the war against Troy. Achilles gladly agrees to leave Scyros and join the war. Realizing that she will never see Achilles again, Deidamia curses Ulysses for ruining her happiness. Her aria begins as a slow, accusatory lament. The voice enters at the very start, and the strings sadly echo each phrase. A second section, the actual curse, is fast, and is followed by what at first seems to be a conventional da capo repeat of the opening section. Instead, however, it proves to be a much shortened recapitulation, and a new version of the fast section unexpectedly returns to finish the aria. The role was first sung by Elisabeth du Parc, known as ‘La Francesina’, who later became the creator of the title role of Handel’s Semele.

from notes by Anthony Hicks © 2000

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDS44271/3 disc 3 track 11
Overture: Allegro
Recording date
16 June 1999
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. Handel: Opera Arias and Overtures, Vol. 2 (CDA67128)
    Disc 1 Track 11
    Release date: April 2000
    Deletion date: May 2006
    Archive Service; also available on CDS44271/3
  2. Handel: Opera Arias (CDS44271/3)
    Disc 3 Track 11
    Release date: September 2007
    3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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