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'Troppo audace’: Ambition and Moderation in Handel’s Bilingual Revival of L’allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Larry ZazzoORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Winton Dean described Handel’s ode L’Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato (HWV), with its pastoral texts by Milton, as ‘perhaps the profoundest tribute Handel ever paid to the land of his adoption’. Yet for the first revival in January 1741, Handel prepared Italian-texted movements for this quintessentially ‘English’ ode in order to accommodate his star castrato that season, Giovanni Battista Andreoni. With the help of Paolo Rolli, a librettist long associated with Handel and a respected translator of Milton, Handel reset four English-texted arias and one accompagnato with Italian contrafacta and composed a completely new Italian accompagnato and bravura aria for Andreoni, to be performed before the very last chorus. While these Italian-texted movements in macaronic Handel revivals are often either neglected by Handel scholars or dismissed as unfortunate compromises, a textual and musical analysis of the accompagnato ‘L’insaziabil fantasia’ and the aria ‘Troppo audace’ reveals a quasi-operatic mini-scena that had personal and professional resonances for both Handel and Rolli – an artistic manifesto of sorts on moderation, ambition, imitation and freedom within the transnational mid-eighteenth-century European world of letters and music

Publication metadata

Author(s): Zazzo L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Eighteenth-Century Music

Year: 2020

Volume: 17

Issue: 2

Pages: 215-242

Print publication date: 21/09/2020

Online publication date: 02/09/2020

Acceptance date: 26/06/2020

Date deposited: 22/01/2021

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1478570620000251


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