Agrippina (HWV 6) is an opera seria in three acts by George Frideric Handel with a libretto by Cardinal Vincenzo Grimani. Composed for the 1709–10 Venice Carnevale season, the opera tells the story of Agrippina, the mother of Nero, as she plots the downfall of the Roman Emperor Claudius and the installation of her son as emperor. Grimani's libretto, considered one of the best that Handel set, is an "anti-heroic satirical comedy", full of topical political allusions. Some analysts believe that it reflects Grimani's political and diplomatic rivalry with Pope Clement XI.
Handel composed Agrippina at the end of a three-year sojourn in Italy. It premiered in Venice at the Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo on 26 December 1709. It proved an immediate success and an unprecedented series of 27 consecutive performances followed. Observers praised the quality of the music—much of which, in keeping with the contemporary custom, had been borrowed and adapted from other works, including the works of other composers. Despite the evident public enthusiasm for the work, Handel did not promote further stagings. There were occasional productions in the years following its premiere but Handel's operas, including Agrippina, fell out of fashion in the mid-18th century.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere cast, 26 December 1709|
(Conductor: George Frideric Handel)
|Nerone||soprano castrato||Valeriano Pellegrini|
|Pallante||bass||Giuseppe Maria Boschi|
|Narciso||alto castrato||Giuliano Albertini|
|Poppea||soprano||Diamante Maria Scarabelli|
|Claudio||bass||Antonio Francesco Carli|
|2017 23||Mar||4||Apr||Opera Vlaanderen, Antwerpen||Belgium|
|2017 18||Feb||22||Feb||The Julliard School, New York||USA|
|2016 24||Oct||28||Nov||Buenos Aires Lírica||Argentina|
|2016 15||0ct||3||Feb||Oldenburgisches Staatstheater||Germany|
|2016 18||Mar||2||Apr||Theater an der Wien||Austria|
|2016 16||Apr||7||May||HNK Zagreb||Croatia|