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)
Agrippina soprano Margherita Durastanti
Nerone soprano castrato Valeriano Pellegrini
Pallante bass Giuseppe Maria Boschi
Narciso alto castrato Giuliano Albertini
Lesbo bass Nicola Pasini
Ottone contralto Francesca Vanini-Boschi
Poppea soprano Diamante Maria Scarabelli
Claudio bass Antonio Francesco Carli
Giunone contralto Francesca Vanini-Boschi


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