Handel completed the score for Alcina just days before the premiere performance on 16 April 1735, adding final revisions to his work until right up until 8 April. It was at a time when his name alone would draw a huge crowd in London, and he was just into his first season at the new theatre in Covent Garden. With his oratorio’s Deborah and Athalia, as well as his Organ Concerto Op.4 No. 4, all being mounted at the same time, it is difficult to imagine the pressure that the composer was under to keep impressing his audiences with new material.
He need not have worried with a work like Alcina.
Alcina guide sections