Venedig, Händel, Grimani: weitere Überlegungen zum Kontext
Handel’s opera Agrippina deserves to be viewed in the light of the Italian, specifically the Venetian opera business. The essay, partly indebted to research of Harris S. Saunders and Juliane Riepe, anticipates a larger enquiry of the author in the collective volume Il dramma per musica a Venezia nell’epoca di Vivaldi (forthcoming in Quaderni Vivaldiani, Istituto Italiano Antonio Vivaldi). It addresses three topics: 1. The role of Agrippina in the series of productions of the Grimani family and their rivals. Agrippina fulfils particular patterns that had recently evolved at the S. Giovanni Grisostomo theatre, for example in respect to the topic and style of the drama. 2. The attribution of the libretto to Vincenzo Grimani has unreasonably been doubted, given its anchorage in Venetian chronologies involving the collaboration of Apostolo Zeno. Comparison with Grimani’s libretto Orazio (Venice 1688) further confirms his authorship. 3. The chronology of Handel’s operas written in Italy, as recently revisited by Ursula Kirkendale. If, as she proposes, there was a performance of Agrippina in Venice before the one of carnival 1709-1710, it could at best have been in 1708-1709; Mainwaring’s mention of an ad hoc performance in an otherwise closed theatre might be explained by Don Giller’s suggestion of the Teatro SS. Giovanni e Paolo. Yet Mainwaring’s other assertions are unlikely, as is Kirkendale’s proposal to back-date the Florentine Rodrigo to earlier seasons.