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Oreste (Orestes; HWV A11, HG 48/102) is an opera by George Frideric Handel in three acts. The libretto was anonymously adapted from Giangualberto Barlocci’s L’Oreste (1723, Rome), which was in turn adapted from Euripides' Iphigeneia in Tauris.[1]

The opera is a pasticcio (pastiche), meaning that it was cobbled together from earlier works, mainly other operas and cantatas also by Handel. The recitatives and parts of the dances are the only parts composed specifically for this work.[1]

The opera is in Italian, although it was written and performed in England. The lead role was written for the castrato Giovanni Carestini. It is now performed by either a countertenor or soprano.[1]

Performance history[edit]

The opera was first performed at Covent Garden Theatre on December 18, 1734. The work was only performed three times in Handel's lifetime, having received a poor reception, and was first revived in 1988.[1]


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 18 December 1734
(Conductor: - )
Oreste mezzo-soprano castrato Giovanni Carestini
Ifigenia soprano Cecilia Young
Ermione soprano Anna Maria Strada del Pò
Pilade tenor John Beard
Filotete contralto Maria Caterina Negri
Toante bass Gustavus Waltz


  1. ^ a b c d Hicks