Winton Dean (born 18 March 1916) is an English musicologist of the 20th century, most famous for his research concerning the life and works—in particular the operas and oratorios—of Handel, as detailed in his book Handel’s Dramatic Oratorios and Masques (1959).
Dean was born in Birkenhead. After an education at Harrow and Cambridge, Dean became notable as a writer on music, particularly after World War II, when he published several works concerning the compositions of Bizet. Handel, however, remained his main focus; and apart from the book already mentioned, he also published Handel and the Opera Seria (Berkeley, 1969), and a more general Essays on Opera (Oxford, 1990, 2/1993). His definitive two-volume work on Handel operas was published in 1987 and 2006.
Dean contributed heavily to a number of musicological publications, including Musical Times and Opera. His writings include studies of French Opera, and also Italian Opera before the dominance of Verdi. Nevertheless his reputation rests principally upon his analyses of Handel's output, and Handel’s Dramatic Oratorios and Masques is widely acknowledged as a seminal work not only in Handel scholarship but also in musicology as a whole, thanks to its detailed discussion of original documents and thorough approach to the topic.
- Dean, Winton (1959), Handel's Dramatic Oratorios and Masques, Oxford University Press
- Dean, Winton; Knapp, J Merrill (1987), Handel's operas: 1704–1726, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-315219-9
- Dean, Winton (2006), Handel's Operas, 1726-1741, Boydell Press, ISBN 1843832682
Stanley Sadie: "Dean, Winton", Grove Music Online ed L. Macy (Accessed 11 December 2006), grovemusic.com, subscription access.