The Handel Institute
The Handel Institute

Chronology of George Frideric Handel's
Life, Compositions, and his Times


Abbreviations used for locations:

CG : London, Covent Garden Theatre
DLT : London, Drury Lane Theatre
FHC : Foundling Hospital Chapel
KT : London, King's Theatre, Haymarket
LIF : Lincoln's Inn Fields
LTH : London, "Little Theatre" in the Haymarket
NMH : Dublin, Mr. Neal's Musick Hall (or the Great Music Hall), Fishamble Street
QT : London, Queen's Theatre, Haymarket
TaG : Theater am Gänsemarkt, Hamburg
WA : Westminster Abbey

NOTE 1: Dates included below for British locations are represented in the Old Style (Julian) up until September 1752 and subsequently in the New Style (Gregorian or continental style). For locations on the Continent, the New Style was used as early as 1700 and in Italy prior to this date. According to the old Julian calendar the year changed on March 25 -- the Feast of the Annunciation. [For example, 31 March 1751 (new style) converts to 20 March 1751 (old style).]

NOTE 2: ( ) = numbers in parentheses represent GFH's approximate age in years.

1722 -- Cuzzoni arrives...Can prima donnas really fly? (37)

  • 9 February : First documented concert performance of Water Music (HWV 348-50). [Stationer's Hall]
  • 16 June : Opera seaon closes.
  • 10 August : Completes draft score of Ottone, re di Germania (HWV 15).
  • 7-13 November : Opera season opens late with revival of Muzio Scevola (HWV 13). [KT]
  • 4 December : Floridante (HWV 14) is revived. [KT]
  • December : Francesca Cuzzoni (soprano) arrives in London. She refuses to sing her first aria "Falsa imagine" from Ottone, re di Germania (HWV 15). GFH threatens to throw Cuzzoni from the window. John Mainwaring, GFH's first biographer, relates the anecdote as follows:

      "Having one day some words with CUZZONI on her refusing to sing Falsa imagine in OTTONE; Oh! Madame (said he) je scais [sic.] bien que Vous êtes une véritable Diablesse: mais je Vous ferai sçavoir, moi, que je suis Beelzebub le Chéf des Diables. With this he took her up by the waist, and, if she made any more words, swore that he would fling her out of the window." (trans.:  Madam, I know you are a veritable devil, but I would have you know that I am Beelzebub, chief of the Devils.)

  • Telemann is appointed Director Musices (musical director) of the Hamburg Opera.
  • Brook Street house is built.

1723 -- Becomes a court composer, begets a home (38)

  • 12 January :
    • Ottone, re di Germania (HWV 15) premieres. [KT]
    • This is Cuzzoni's (soprano) début London performance.
  • 19 February : Attilio Ariosti (the fourth Royal Academy of Music composer) premieres his first London opera, Coriolano.
  • 25 February : Appointed Composer of Musick for His Majesty's Chappel Royal and granted royal annual pension.
  • 20 March : Concerto in F major (HWV 331) premieres. [DLT]
  • April : Plans are drawn up to move the opera company to Paris in July, but these aren't realized.
  • May : J.S. Bach appointed Kantor and Director Musices of the Thomaskirche -- posts he holds until his death. [Leipzig]
  • 7 May : Completes composition of Flavio, re de' Langobardi (HWV 16).
  • 14 May : Flavio, re de' Langobardi (HWV 16) premieres. [KT]
  • Summer : Begins to compose Giulio Cesare in Egitto (HWV 17).
  • 9 June : Appointed Master of Music to the royal princesses (Anne and Caroline) -- on or before this date.
  • 15 June : Opera season closes.
  • July : Moves into Brook Street house (present day No. 25).
  • 27 November : Opera season opens.
  • 11 December : Ottone, re di Germania (HWV 15) is revived. [KT]

1724 -- Julius Caesar rules! (39)

  • 20 February : Giulio Cesare in Egitto (HWV 17) premieres. [KT]
  • March : Margherita Durastanti (soprano) gives a benefit performance and then departs London for the Continent.
  • 3 July : Begins to composeTamerlano (HWV 18).
  • 24 July : Completes first draft of Tamerlano (HWV 18).
  • 24 August : Performs on the organ at St. Paul's Cathedral before the royal princesses (Anne and Caroline).
  • 31 October :
    • Opera season opens with the première of Tamerlano (HWV 18)
    • This is Francesco Borosini's (tenor) début London performance. [KT]
  • JS Bach begins his second cycle of sacred cantatas.
  • Between 1724-26, GFH composes seven German church cantatas (HWV 229.1-7).
  • Giovanni Bononcini falls into disfavor with English High Society: he is Catholic and therefore linked to the Jacobites. He moves to Paris. This same year, he is drawn back to England by the Duchess of Marlborough who offers him £500.

1725 (40)

  • 2 January : Giulio Cesare in Egitto (HWV 17) is revived. [KT]
  • 20 January : Completes composition of Rodelinda, regina de' Langobardi (HWV 19).
  • 13 February : Rodelinda, regina de' Langobardi (HWV 19) premières. [KT]
  • 1 May : Tamerlano (HWV 18) is revived. [KT]
  • 6 May : Rodelinda an Opera is published; First score by GFH to be issued by subscription.
  • 9 May : L'Elpidia, overo Li rivali generosi (HWV A1) premieres. [KT]
  • 19 June : Opera season closes.
  • 3 September : England, France, and Prussia sign the Treaty of Hanover.
  • 22 October : Alessandro Scarlatti (65) dies. [Naples]
  • 30 November : Opera season opens with the revival of L'Elpidia, overo Li rivali generosi (HWV A1). [KT]
  • 18 December : Rodelinda, regina de' Langobardi (HWV 19) is revived. [KT]
  • Anne Danican Philidor inaugurates the Concert Spirituel at the Salle des Suisses of the Tuileries palace in Paris, which continues until 1791.

1726 -- "Faustina" arrives (41)

  • 16 January : Let God arise (HWV 256b) premieres. [Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace]
  • 8 February : Ottone, re di Germania (HWV 15) is revived. [KT]
  • 2 March : Completes composition of Scipione (HWV 20).
  • 12 March : Scipione (HWV 20) premières. [KT]
  • 11 April : Completes composition of Alessandro (HWV 21) -- albeit delayed awaiting the arrival of the soprano Faustina Bordini.
  • 5 May :
    • Alessandro (HWV 21) premieres. [KT]
    • This is Faustina Bordoni's (soprano; 1697-1781) début London performance.
  • 7 June : Opera season closes.
  • 10 November : Completes composition of Admeto, re di Tessaglia (HWV 22).
  • The Academy of Vocal Music (later The Academy of Ancient Music) is founded. Bernard Gates, Maurice Greene, William Croft, Bononcini, Francesco Bernardi ('Il Senesino'), Charles Dieupart, Nicola Haym, Jean-Baptiste Loeillet, and Francesco Geminiani are some of its early members.  [The Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand, London]
  • The English musicologist Charles Burney is born. [Shrewsbury]

1727 -- England adopts Handel...George II is proclaimed King...The "Rival Queens" come to blows on stage...The Royal Academy of Music begins its decline (42)

  • 7 January :
    • Opera season opening is delayed awaiting the return of Senesino -- recovering from illness.
    • Ariosti's Lucio Vero is performed.
  • 31 January : Admeto, re di Tessaglia (HWV 22) premieres. [KT]
  • 13 February : Applies for English citizenship.
  • 20 February : Royal Assent is bestowed on Act to naturalize GFH.
  • 11 April : Ottone, re di Germania (HWV 15) is revived. [KT]
  • 29 April : Floridante (HWV 14) is revived. [KT]
  • 16 May : Completes draft score for Riccardo Primo, re d'Inghilterra (HWV 23).
  • 6 June : Opera season closes early due to a disturbance during performance of Giovanni Bononcini's Astianatte. The prima donnas Cuzzoni and Faustina (referred to contemporaneously as "The Rival Queens") come to blows on stage before the Princess of Wales. Charles Burney, the contemporary musicologist, remarks :

      "It seems impossible for two singers of equal merit to tread the same stage a parte equale as for two people to ride on the same horse, without one being behind."

  • 11 June : King George I dies en route to Hanover. [Osnabrück]
    George II
    George II
    (Reign: 1727-60)
  • 15 June : George II is proclaimed King. [London]
  • August : Receives a commission to compose "The Anthem at the Coronation".
  • 30 September : Opera season opens with a revival of Admeto, re di Tessaglia (HWV 22). [KT]
  • 11 October : Coronation Anthems (HWV 258-61) are performed at the coronation of King George II and Queen Caroline. [WA]
  • 30 October : Minuets (composed by GFH) are performed for a Court ball.
  • November : Mrs. Pendarves describes the status of the Royal Academy of Music as...

      "at their last gasp; the subscription is expired and nobody will renew it. The directors are all squabbling, and they have so many divisions among themselves that I wonder they have not broke up before."

  • 11 November : Riccardo Primo, re d'Inghilterra (HWV 23) premieres. [KT]
  • 22 November : GFH's music is performed for the first time in the provinces. [Bristol]
  • 30 December : Alessandro (HWV 21) is revived. [KT]
  • Anne Danican Philidor establishes the Concert Français. [Paris]
  • William Croft (organist of the English Chapel Royal) dies.
  • Maurice Greene is named a composer of the Chapel Royal.
  • Agostino Steffani is elected honorary president in absentia of The Academy of Vocal Music.

1728 -- The Beggar's Opera augers trouble ahead...The Royal Academy of Music folds (43)

  • January : Radamisto (HWV 12b) is revived. [KT]
  • 29 January : John Gay's and Johann Christoph Pepusch's The Beggar's Opera premieres. [LIF] (NOTE: Because of its popular reception, The Beggar's Opera is staged 62 times that season!)
  • 5 February : Completes composition of Siroe, re di Persia (HWV 24).
  • 12 February : Agostino Steffani (73) dies. [Frankfurt-am-Main]
  • To Giovanni Bononcini's disappointment, he is not elected Steffani's successor as President of The Academy of Vocal Music.
  • 17 February :
    • Siroe, re di Persia (HWV 24) premieres. [KT]
    • This is GFH's first setting of an opera to a libretto by Pietro Metastasio.
  • 19 April : Completes composition ofTolomeo, re d'Egitto (HWV 25).
  • 30 April : Tolomeo, re d'Egitto (HWV 25) premieres. [KT]
  • 25 May : Admeto, re di Tessaglia (HWV 22) is revived. [KT]
  • 1 June : Royal Academy of Music closes following a performance of Admeto, re di Tessaglia (HWV 22). [KT]
  • June:
    • Heidegger travels to the Continent to hire new singers for the upcoming opera season; he is unsuccessful.
    • Faustina Bordoni departs London for Italy.

1729 -- More recruiting on the Continent...Handel visits his mother for the last time...The "Second Academy" is born (44)

  • 18 January : Heidegger and GFH enter into an agreement with the directors of the Academy to continue operas at KT for 5 years under their own management.
  • 4 February : Departs for Italy to employ new opera singers.
  • 11 March : Arrives in Venice.
  • Travels onto Bologna, Rome, and Naples (?). Hires Antonio Maria Bernacchi (alto-castrato), Anna Maria Strada del Pò (soprano), and Annibale Pio Fabbri, called "Balino" (tenor); fails to engage Farinelli (castrato).
  • June :
    • Visits Hamburg, Hanover, and Halle.
    • He sees his mother for the last time. [Halle]
    • W.F. Bach (19) travels to Halle and invites Handel to meet his father, J.S. Bach, but GFH declines the invitation.
    • Recruits the bass, Johann Gottfried Riemschneider. [Hamburg]
  • 29 June : Returns to London.
  • The composer Ariosti dies.
  • 11 August : The librettist Nicola Haym dies.
  • 10 October : Introduces new opera soloist, Anna Maria Strada del Pò (soprano), at a performance before the royal family. [Kensington]
  • 11 October : Princess Amelia, second eldest daughter of George II, writes to her governess, Lady Portland :

    "...We had yesterday twice the new Singer her name is Strada it is a charming voice and think her beyond all her predecessors. She is mighty good and easie and hath exactly the way of talking of Cozzony [Cuzzoni]. The others ant [aren't] yet come but indeed if they proove but half as good we shall be very happy this Winter."

  • 23 October : Princess Amelia writes to Lady Portland :

    "...We have heard now all the Singers and are mighty happy satisified it is the compleatest troop one could have expected..."

  • 9 November : England, France, and Spain sign the Treaty of Seville. Gibraltar is ceded to England
  • 16 November : Completes Lotario (HWV 26).
  • 2 December : Opera season opens with the première of Lotario (HWV 26). [KT]
  • The Lord Chamberlain prevents John Gay from presenting his sequel (Polly) to the The Beggar's Opera.
  • Domenico Scarlatti moves from Lisbon, Portugal to Seville, Spain.
  • J.S. Bach becomes director of the Leipzig Collegium Musicum.
  • Francesca Cuzzoni departs London for Italy.

1730 -- Alone in this world (45)

  • 17 January : Giulio Cesare in Egitto (HWV 17) is revived. [KT]
  • 12 February : Completes Partenope (HWV 27).
  • 24 February : Partenope (HWV 27) premieres. [KT]
  • 4 April : Ormisda (HWV A3) premieres. [KT]
  • 19 May : Tolomeo, re d'Egitto (HWV 25) is revived. [KT]
  • 13 June : Opera season closes.
  • 30 July : Johann Adolf Hasse marries Faustina Bordoni. [Venice]
  • October : Senesino returns to London -- on or before this date.
  • 3 November : Opera season opens with a revival of Scipione (HWV 20). [KT]
  • 28 November : Ormisda (HWV A3) is revived. [KT]
  • 12 December : Partenope (HWV 27) is revived. [KT]
  • 27 December (New Style) or 16 December (Old Style) : GFH's mother dies. [Halle]
  • Johann Adolf Hasse (1699-1783) is appointed Hofkapellmeister. [Dresden]
  • Vivaldi's Opus 12 concertos are published.

1731 -- Montagnana arrives (46)

  • 12 January : Venceslao (HWV A4) premieres. [KT]
  • 16 January : Completes composition of Poro, re dell'Indie (HWV 28).
  • January : Bernard Gates (a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey) directs a performance of the madrigal In una siepe ombrosa by the Venetian Antonio Lotti, which Giovanni Bononcini had presented as his own in 1727.
  • The Academy deliberates on the case and publish their ruling in favor of Lotti. Bononcini and Greene leave the Academy, taking with them the singers from St. Paul's Cathedral. Bononcini departs for Paris. In Paris he performs at the Concert Spirituel and publishes sacred music.
  • The Apollo Academy, a London tavern music club founded by Maurice Greene (Composer of the Chapel Royal and Organist at St. Paul's), is set up as a rival to The Academy of Ancient Music. The new Academy is devoted mainly to the interests of its three leading composer-members: Maurice Greene, William Boyce and Festing. [The Devil Tavern, Fleet Street, London]
  • 2 February : Poro, re dell'Indie (HWV 28) premieres. [KT]
  • 16 March : Treaty of Vienna is signed. The Holy Roman Emperor agrees to disband the Ostend East India Company.
  • 6 April : Rinaldo (HWV 7b) is revived. [KT]
  • 4 May : Rodelinda, regina de' Langobardi (HWV 19) is revived. [KT]
  • 26 May : The Academy of Vocal Music is renamed the The Academy of Ancient Music. Johann Christoph Pepusch (1667-1752) effectively become the Academy's artistic director.
  • 29 May : Opera season closes.
  • 13 November :
    • Opera season opens with a revival of Tamerlano (HWV 18). [KT]
    • This is the London début for Antonio Montagnana (bass).
  • 23 November : Poro, re dell'Indie (HWV 28) is revived. [KT]
  • 7 December : Admeto, re di Tessaglia (HWV 22) is revived. [KT]
  • December : Composes Ezio (HWV 29), having abandoned Titus l'empéreur (HWV A5).

1732 -- The English oratorio is born: Esther(47)

  • 15 January : Ezio (HWV 29) premieres. [KT]
  • 1 February : Giulio Cesare in Egitto (HWV 17) is revived. [KT]
  • 4 February : Completes composition of Sosarme, re di Media (HWV 30).
  • 15 February : Sosarme, re di Media (HWV 30) premieres. [KT]
  • 23 February : Esther (HWV 50a) is performed, including the Children of the Chapel Royal (under the direction of Bernard Gates, Master of the Children) on GFH's birthday. [Crown & Anchor tavern]
  • 31 March : Franz Josef Haydn is born. [Rohrau, Lower Austria]
  • 18 April : Flavio, re de' Langobardi (HWV 16) is revived. [KT]
  • May : A pirated production of Acis and Galatea (HWV 49b) is performed. [New Theatre, Haymarket]
  • 2 May : A newly expanded version of Esther (HWV 50b) premieres in response to a pirated production. [KT]
  • 10 June : An English/Italian version of Acis and Galatea (HWV 49b) premieres at the request of Princess Anne. [KT]
  • 20 June : Opera season closes.
  • 4 November : Opera season opens with the première of Catone (HWV A7). [KT]
  • 20 November : Completes composition of Orlando (HWV 31).
  • 25 November : Alessandro (HWV 21) is revived. [KT]
  • 2 December : Acis and Galatea (HWV 49b) is revived. [KT]
  • 4 December : John Gay dies.
  • 5 December : In a letter to GFH, Aaron Hill implores him,

      "to deliver us from our Italian bondage; and demonstrate, that English is soft enough for opera, when compos'd by poets, who know how to distinguish the sweetness of our tongue, from the strength of it."

  • 7 December : John Rich's "Theatre Royal, Covent Garden" (Covent Garden Theatre) opens.
  • John Frederick Lampe (ca. 1703-1751), Henry Carey (1687-1743), and Thomas Augustine Arne (1710-78) organize a season of "English Operas after the Italian manner". [LTH]

1733 -- Competition! : The Opera of the Nobility opens...A faithful friend returns (48)

  • January : Lord Delawarr writes to the Duke of Richmond :

      "There is a Spirit got up against the Dominion of Mr Handel, a subscription carry'd on, and Directors chosen, who have contracted with Senesino, and sent for Cuzzoni, and a Farinelli...Porpora is also sent for."

  • 2 January : Tolomeo, re d'Egitto (HWV 25) is revived. [KT]
  • 27 January : Orlando (HWV 31) premieres. [KT]
  • 21 February : Completes composition of Deborah (HWV 51).
  • 3 March : Floridante (HWV 14) is revived. [KT]
  • 17 March : Deborah (HWV 51) premieres. [KT]
  • 14 April : Esther (HWV 50b) is revived. [KT]
  • 7 June : Completes composition of Athalia (HWV 52). [KT]
  • 9 June :
    • Opera seasons closes with Giovanni Bononcini's Griselda. [KT]
    • Senesino announces he will leave London; instead, he joins the rival Opera of the Nobility.
  • June -- July : At the request of University's Vice-Chancellor, GFH travels to Oxford for the Publick Act; he does not accept an honorary doctorate -- "not having time for it."
  • 15 June : Opera of the Nobility established :
    • Several noblemen, supported by Frederick, the Prince of Wales, hold their first meeting to form a new rival opera company, the Opera of the Nobility -- in open opposition to GFH and his supporters. [Hickford's Room]
    • GFH's leading singers defect to the rival company (except Strada).
    • Nicola Porpora (1686-1768) is appointed its director.
  • 5 &7 July : Esther (HWV 50b) is performed. [Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford]
  • 10 July : Athalia (HWV 52) premieres. [Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford]
  • 11 July : Acis and Galatea (HWV 49b) is performed. [Christ Church Hall, Oxford]
  • 11 July : Athalia (HWV 52) is performed. [Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford]
  • 12 July : Deborah (HWV 51) is performed. [Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford]
  • Michael Christian Festing and Thomas Arne hear GFH play the organ at Oxford and later tell the musicologist, Charles Burney,

      "that neither themselves, nor any one else of their acquaintance, had ever before heard such extempore, or such premeditated playing, on that or any other instrument."

  • Returns to London.
  • Recruits new singers (e.g., Giovanni Carestini, mezzo-soprano castrato).
  • Margherita Durastanti (soprano) returns to sing in Handel's opera company; she remains until 1734.
  • 5 October : Completes composition of Arianna in Creta (HWV 32).
  • 27 October : Announcement that GFH will compose wedding music for Princess Anne -- displacing Maurice Greene. Wedding postponed after the Willem, the Prince of Orange, falls ill.
  • 30 October : Opera season opens with the première of Semiramide (HWV A8). [KT]
  • 13 November : Ottone, re di Germania (HWV 15) is revived. [KT]
  • December : An observer comments:

      "How two Opera Houses will subsist after Christmas, I can't tell; but at present we are at some difficulty for the Support of One; & Mr. Handel has been forc'd to drop his Opera three nights for want of company"

  • 4 December : Caio Fabricio (HWV A9) premieres. [KT]
  • 29 December : Opera of the Nobility opens with Porpora's Arianna in Nasso -- sung by Senesino, Montagnana, Bertolli, and Gismondi. [LIF]
  • John Walsh publishes (using a spurious "Roger" title page) a set of 12 Handel sonatas (Opus 2) "pour un travesière, un violon ou hautbois con basso continuo".
  • John Walsh publishes "Suites des Pièces pour le Clavecin...Second Volume".

1734 -- Wedding Music I...The "Second Academy" folds...Relocation to the Covent Garden Theatre..."Farinelli's" arrival bolsters the Opera of the Nobility (49)

  • GFH's publication privilege expires.
  • John Walsh republishes Opus 2 sonatas with new title page.
  • 26 January : Arianna in Creta (HWV 32) premieres. [KT]
  • 12 February : Harmony in an Uproar is published -- a satirical pamphlet attacking GFH's rivals.
  • 13 March : Parnasso in festa (HWV 73) premieres. [KT]
  • 14 March : This is the day which the Lord hath made (HWV 262) given first performance at the wedding of Princess Anne and Prince Willem (the Prince of Orange). [French Chapel, St. James's Palace]
  • Princess Anne, one of Handel's strongest supporters, takes up residence in Holland.
  • April : Cuzzoni returns to London from Italy and joins the Opera of the Nobility.
  • 2 April : Deborah (HWV 51) in revived (in English/Italian form). [KT]
  • 27 April : Sosarme, re di Media (HWV 30) is revived. [KT]
  • 7 May : Acis and Galatea (HWV 49b) is revived. [KT]
  • 18 May : Il pastor fido (HWV 8a) is revived. [KT]
  • 6 July : Opera season closes.
  • Heidegger leases KT to the Opera of the Nobility.
  • 12 August : Begins to compose Ariodante (HWV 33).
  • 27 August :
    • Returns to London after having visited "the country".
    • GFH and John Rich reach agreement to hold next opera season at CG.
  • 28 August : Completes Act 1 of Ariodante (HWV 33).
  • 9 September : Completes Act 2 of Ariodante (HWV 33).
  • October : The Italian castrato Carlo Broschi (1705-82), better known as "Farinelli", arrives in London, and joins the Opera of the Nobility. (NOTE : Farinelli never sang under Handel's direction.)
  • 24 October : Completes composition of Ariodante (HWV 33).
  • 29 October :
    • The Opera of the Nobility season opens. [KT]
    • This is Farinelli's London début performance.
  • 31 October : Royal bounty of £1000 ordered to be paid to GFH.
  • 4 November : A London newspaper reports that Handel has "waited upon their Majesties with his new Opera of Ariodante." -- a private royal preview of the opera to retain a royal subsidy.
  • 9 November :
    • Opera season opens with a revival of Il pastor fido (HWV 8a) -- including new prologue: Terpsichore (HWV 8b). The French dancer Marie Sallé (1707-1756) dances in the ballet. [CG]
    • This is the London début of John Beard (tenor; ca. 1717-1771).
  • 27 November : Arianna in Creta (HWV 32) revived. Ballet included. [CG]
  • 30 November : Farinelli writes (contributed by Carlo Vitali):

The text reads:

Cantando a Corte sempre vi fu la presenza del Re e Regina ed il maestro di cappella era la Principessa d'Oranges: all'improviso mi furono tirate arie d'Endel; con gran franchezza mi posi ad eseguir quelle e grazie al Cielo ne sortii con tutta la gloria [...]

Londra 30 novembre 1734 [...]
umilissimo obbligatissimo servitore vero
Carlo Broschi Farinello


While I was singing at the Royal Court, the King and Queen were always present and the Princess of Orange [Anne, the Princess Royal] acted as 'maestro di cappella' [conductor and accompanist]. All of a sudden, some arias by Handel were produced before me; with great assurance I started performing them and - thanks to God - I came out of it with full praise [...]

London, November the 30th 1734 [...]
Most humble and most obliged servant to command
Carlo Broschi Farinello

  • December : John Walsh issues 6 Concerti Grossi, Opus 3 (also referred to as, "The Oboe Concertos").
  • 10 December :
    • Ottone, re di Germania (HWV 15) is revived by the Opera of the Nobility. [KT]
    • Farinelli sings the part of Adelberto. However, he doesn't sing any of the arias originally composed by GFH for the role.
  • 18 December : Oreste (HWV A11) premieres along with a ballet. [CG]
  • 19 December : GFH receives the royal bounty. (See 31 October 1734.)
  • Bernard Gates leaves The Academy of Ancient Music and takes the Chapel Royal singers with him.

1735 -- The Handelian organ concerto is born (50)

  • 8 January :
    • Ariodante (HWV 33) premieres; includes ballet. [CG]
    • This is Cecilia Young's début London performance.
  • 5 March : Esther (HWV 50b) is revived with two new organ concertos: Op 4 No 2 (HWV 290) and Op 4 No 3 (HWV 291). [CG]
  • 25 March : Completes composition of the Organ concerto in F major, Op 4 No 4 (HWV 292).
  • 26 March : Deborah (HWV 51) is revived with the new organ concerto, Op 4 No 5 (HWV 293). [CG]
  • 1 April : Athalia (HWV 52) is revived (first London performance) with the new organ concerto, Op 4 No 4 (HWV 292). [CG]
  • 8 April : Completes composition of Alcina (HWV 34).
  • 16 April :
    • Alcina (HWV 34) premieres; with ballet. [CG]
    • This was GFH's last operatic success in London.
  • 2 July : Opera season closes.
  • 28 July : GFH writes to Charles Jennens (1700-73). He thanks Jennens for the libretto to an oratorio (unidentified -- probably Saul; HWV 53) and notes that he will soon depart for Tunbridge Wells.
  • August : Walsh publishes six "Fugues of Voluntarys for the Organ or Harpsichord."
  • October : The Opera of the Nobility season opens -- unchallenged.
  • 25 November : Lord Hervery writes about a performace of Veracini's Adriano in Siria,

      "Handel sat in great emminence and great pride in the middle pit, and seemed in silent triumph to insult this poor dying Opera in its agonies."


  • Maurice Greene appointed Master of the King's Music following John Eccles' death (circa 67). [London]

1736 -- Wedding music II (51)

  • 17 January : Completes composition of Alexander's Feast (HWV 75).
  • 25 January : Completes composition of the Concerto grosso in C major (HWV 318).
  • 19 February :
    • CG season opens.
    • Alexander's Feast (HWV 75) premieres with the cantata, Cecilia volgi un sguardo (HWV 89) , Concerto grosso in C major (HWV 318), Harp concerto in B flat major, Op 4 No 6 (HWV 294), and Organ concerto in G minor, Op 4 No 1 (HWV 289). [CG]
  • 13 March : GFH's publisher John Walsh senior dies (circa 70); the John Walsh, the younger, takes over his father's publishing business.
  • 24 March : Acis and Galatea (HWV 49b) is revived. [CG]
  • 1 April : He begins to compose Atalanta (HWV 35).
  • 7 & 14 April : Esther (HWV 50b) is revived. [CG]
  • 22 April : Completes composition of Atalanta (HWV 35).
  • 27 April : Sing unto God (HWV 263) premieres at the wedding of Frederick, Prince of Wales, to Augusta, Princess of Saxe-Gotha. [German Chapel, St. James's Palace]
  • Royal family travels by boat. GFH's music is possibly performed.
  • 5 May :
    • Ariodante (HWV 33) is revived. [CG]
    • This is the London début of Gioacchino Conti, called "Gizziello" (soprano-castrato).
  • 12 May : Atalanta (HWV 35) premières; it is dedicated to the Prince of Wales. [CG]
  • 9 June : Opera season closes.
  • 14 August : Begins first draft of Giustino (HWV 37).
  • September -- October : Domenico Annibali (alto-castrato) arrives in London and joins GFH's CG opera company.
  • 7 September : Completes composition of first draft of Giustino (HWV 37).
  • 15 September : Begins to compose first draft of Arminio (HWV 36).
  • 3 October : Completes first draft of Arminio (HWV 36).
  • 14 October : Completes final score of Arminio (HWV 36).
  • 15 October : Begins to compose final score of Giustino (HWV 37).
  • 20 October : Completes final score of Giustino (HWV 37).
  • 6 November : Opera season opens with revival of Alcina (HWV 34) -- without ballet. [CG]
  • 20 & 27 November : Atalanta (HWV 35) is revived. [CG]
  • 8 December :
    • Poro, re dell'Indie (HWV 28) is revived. [CG]
    • This is Domenico Annibali's (alto-castrato) London début performance.
  • 18 December : Begins first draft of Berenice, regina d'Egitto (HWV 38).
  • J.S. Bach appointed honorary Hofkomponist of the Dresden court.
  • Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (26) dies. [Pozzuoli, Italy]
  • Antonio Caldara (circa 65) dies. [Vienna]

1737 -- The Opera of the Nobility folds...Handel is victorious, but at what price?...A royal patron dies (52)

  • 12 January : Arminio (HWV 36) premieres. [CG]
  • 18 January : Completes first draft of Berenice, regina d'Egitto (HWV 38).
  • 27 January : Completes final score of Berenice, regina d'Egitto (HWV 38).
  • 29 January : Revives Partenope (HWV 27). [CG]
  • 16 February : Giustino (HWV 37) premieres. [CG]
  • 28 February : I like the am'rous youth that's free (HWV 228.11) premieres. It is sung by Catherine Clive in James Miller's comedy, The Universal Passion. [DLT]
  • 9 & 11 March : Parnasso in festa (HWV 73) is revived. [CG]
  • 2 March : Begins extensive revision of his first Italian oratorio and renames it Il trionfo del Tempo e della Verità (HWV 46b).
  • 14 March : Completes revision of Il trionfo del Tempo e della Verità (HWV 46b).
  • 16 March : Alexander's Feast (HWV 75) is revived. [CG]
  • 23 March : Il trionfo del Tempo e della Verità (HWV 46b) premieres. [CG]
  • 6 & 7 April : Esther (HWV 50b) is revived. [CG]
  • 13 April : Experiences an attack of "rheumatism" -- unable to use right arm temporarily.
  • 30 April : Report circulates that GFH has recovered from an attack of "rheumatism".
  • May : Henry Carey and Lampe produce The Dragon of Wantley; a burlesque satire attacking Farinelli and Giustino (HWV 37). [LTH]
  • 14 May : GFH is reported to be,

      "very much indispos'd...with a Paraletick Disorder, he having at present no use of his Right Hand".

  • 18 May : Berenice, regina d'Egitto (HWV 38) premieres. [CG]
  • 28 May : Announcement that the complete score of Alexander's Feast (HWV 75) is available by subscription.
  • 10 & 21 June : Alcina (HWV 34) is revived. [CG]
  • 11 June : Final performance of the Opera of the Nobility at KT.
  • Farinelli departs London.
  • 25 June : CG season closes with Alexander's Feast (HWV 75). [CG]
  • September : Travels to Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen; via Tunbridge Wells) for approximately 6 weeks, taking the sulphur baths to cure his paralysis. He is accompanied by the John Christopher Smith, the elder.
  • Mid-October : Arias from GFH's operas are arranged for a pasticcio, Hermann von Balcke [Elbing, on the Baltic Sea]
  • 29 October : New opera company opens at KT (probably managed by Heidegger). GFH agrees to compose for them.
  • 7 November (approx.) : Returns to London.
  • 15 November : Begins to compose Faramondo (HWV 39).
  • 20 November : Queen Caroline dies. Opera performances are cancelled through the remainder of the year.
  • 4 December : Completes Acts I and II of Faramondo (HWV 39).
  • 12 December: Completes The Funeral Anthem for Queen Caroline, The Ways of Zion do Mourn (HWV 264).
  • 17 December : The Ways of Zion do Mourn (HWV 264) is performed during the funeral for Queen Caroline. [King Henry VII's Chapel, WA]
  • 24 December : Completes composition of Faramondo (HWV 39).
  • 26 December : Begins to compose Serse (HWV 40).

1738 -- Back to the King's Theatre...Israel in Egypt is conceived (53)

  • 3 January :
    • Opera season opens with première of Faramondo (HWV 39). [KT]
    • This is the London début of Gaetano Majorano, called "Caffarelli" (soprano-castrato).
  • 14 February : Completes composition of Serse (HWV 40).
  • 25 February : Alessandro Severo (HWV A13) premieres. [KT]
  • 8 March : Alexander's Feast (HWV 75) is published by subscription.
  • 28 March: An Oratorio performed for GFH's own benefit; "he got this night £1000" (Source: Earl of Egmont). [KT]
  • 15 April : Serse (HWV 40) premieres. [KT]
  • 18 April: As reported in the London Daily Post:

"We are informed from very good authority; that there is now finished a Statue of the justly celebrated Mr. Handel, exquisitly done by the ingenious Mr. Raubilliac ... which is to be placed in a grand Nich, erected on purpose in the great Grove at Vaux-Hall-Gardens, at the sole Expence of Mr. Tyers, Undertaker of the Entertainment there; who in Consideration of the real merit of the inimitable Master, thought it proper, that his Effigies should preside there, where his Harmony has so often charm'd even the greatest Crouds into the profoundest Calm and most decent behaviour; it is believed that the Expence of the Statue and Niche cannot cost less than Three hundred pounds."

  • 23 April : First meeting of the subscribers to the "Fund for the Support of Decayed Musicians" (now the Royal Society of Musicians; formed when the widow and children of GFH's oboe soloist John Kitch are found impoverished on the streets of London); Handel is a founding subscriber -- including Boyce, Arne, Greene, and Pepusch. [Crown & Anchor Tavern, London]
  • 1 May : Season at Vauxhall Gardens opens with new statue of GFH by Louis François Roubiliac on display. (The statue being commissioned by the manager of Vauxhall Gardens, Jonathan Tyers, for £300.) (NOTE: The statue is now located in the Victoria and Albert Museum.)
  • 24 May : Heidegger advertises for subscribers to a new opera season.
  • 6 June : KT season closes.
  • 23 July : Begins to compose first draft score of Saul (HWV 53).
  • 25 July : Due to limited public interest in his proposed new opera season, Heidegger renounces his plans.
  • 15 August : Completes first draft of Saul (HWV 53).
  • 9 September : Begins to compose first draft of Imeneo (HWV 41).
  • 18 September : Visited by Charles Jennens who makes various suggestions for revising Saul (HWV 53) after finding GFH full of "maggots" (improbable ideas) for the production of the oratorio. (See next entry.)
  • 19 September : Charles Jennens writes to his young relative Lord Guernsey (later Earl of Aylesford and inheritor of Jennens's collection of Handel scores),

      "Mr. Handel's head is more full of Maggots than ever: I found yesterday in his room a very queer Instrument, which He calls Carillon (Angelice a Bell), & says some call it a Tubalcain, I suppose because it is both in the make & tone like a set of Hammers striking upon Anvils. 'Tis play'd upon with Keys like a Harpsichord, & with this Cyclopean Instrument he designs to make poor Saul stark mad. His second Maggot is an Organ of 500£ price, which (because he is overstock'd with Money) he has bespoke of one Moss of Barnet: this Organ, he says, is so contriv'd, that as he sits at it, he has a better command of his Performers than he used to have; & he is highly delighted to think with what exactness his Oratorio will be perform'd by the help of this Organ: so that for the future, instead of beating time at his Oratorio's, he is to sit at the Organ all the time with his back to the Audience. His third Maggot is a Hallelujah which he has trump'd up at the end of his Oratorio since I went into the Country, because he thought the conclusion of the Oratorio not Grand enough; tho' if that were the case 'twas his own fault, for the words would have bore as Grand Musick as he could have set 'em to: but this Hallelujah, Grand as it is, comes in very nonsensically, having no manner of relation to what goes before. And this is more the extraordinary, because he refus'd to set a Hallelujah at the end of the first Chorus in the Oratorio, where I plac'd one & where it was to be introduc'd with the utmost proprietary, upon a pretence that it would make the Entertainment too long. I could tell you more of his Maggots: but it grows late & I must defer the rest till I write next; by which time, I doubt not, more new ones will breed in his Brain."

  • 20 September : Completes first draft of Imeneo (HWV 41).
  • 27 September : Completes final score of Saul (HWV 53); some of Charles Jennen's suggestions are included.
  • 1 October : Begins to compose Moses' Song (Part II) from Israel in Egypt (HWV 54).
  • 4 October : John Walsh, the younger, publishes the Opus 4 organ concerti (HWV 289-294).
  • 11 October : Completes draft of Moses' Song (Part II) from Israel in Egypt (HWV 54).
  • 15 October : Begins to compose Exodus (Part I) from Israel in Egypt (HWV 54).
  • 20 October : Completes draft of Exodus (Part I) from Israel in Egypt (HWV 54).
  • 28 October : Completes the filling out of Exodus (Part I) from Israel in Egypt (HWV 54).
  • 1 November : Completes the filling out of Moses' Song (Part II) thereby completing Israel in Egypt (HWV 54).
  • Hires KT from Heidegger for 12 nights preparing for an oratorio-based season.
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel (CPE) Bach (1714-1788) enters the service of the future Frederick the Great.
  • Domenico Scarlatti's first collection of keyboard works, "Essercizi per gravicembalo" is published in London.

The Story Continues in 1739

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