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Teseo (Theseus, HWV 9; Italian pronunciation: [teˈzɛo]) is an opera seria with music by George Frideric Handel, the only Handel opera that is in five acts.[1] The Italian-language libretto was by Nicola Francesco Haym, after Philippe Quinault's Thésée. It was Handel's third London opera, intended to follow the success of Rinaldo after the unpopular Il pastor fido.

The opera was premiered at the Queen's Theatre in London on 10 January 1713. It received an additional 12 performances through 16 May 1713.[2] The singers included the castratos Valeriano Pellegrini and Valentino Urbani. Between 1713 and 1984, there were only two revivals,[3] the first being the revival under Fritz Lehmann in Göttingen on 29 June 1947. In 1985, the tercentenary of Handel's birth, the opera received three revivals.[3] English Touring Opera produced Teseo in October and November 2007.[4]


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 10 January 1713
(Conductor: George Frideric Handel )
Teseo (Theseus) soprano castrato Valeriano Pellegrini
King Egeo (Aegeus) alto castrato Valentino Urbani ("Valentini")
Princess Agilea soprano Francesca Margherita de L'Epine
Clizia soprano Maria Gallia-Saggione
Arcane contralto Jane Barbier
Medea soprano Elisabetta Pilotti-Schiavonetti
Priest of the goddess Minerva bass Richard Leveridge



  1. ^ Price, Curtis, "Teseo in Boston and London" (February 1986). Early Music, 14 (1): pp. 149, 151.
  2. ^ Kimbell, David, "The Libretto of Handel's Teseo" (October 1963). Music & Letters, 44 (4): pp. 371-379.
  3. ^ a b Dean, Winton, "Music in London: Opera - Teseo" (October 1985). The Musical Times, 126 (1712): pp. 611-612.\
  4. ^ Erica Jeal (16 October 2007). "Teseo (Hackney Empire, London)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  5. ^ Burrows, Donald, Review of recording of Teseo (August 1993). Early Music, 21 (3): pp. 505-506.