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 The opera Arsinoe travelled throughout Europe from 1676 to 1705. From its creation in Bologna until its performance at Drury Lane in London, the work developed according to local operatic practice. The first alterations were made for the Venetian stage, when one character was replaced by another, and where new scenes were added to satisfy the Venetians’ excessive taste for machinery. This lyrical drama was revived in London thirty years later. Among other transformations, the major change consisted in Peter Antony Motteux’s translation of Tommaso Stanzani’s text into English. However, the recitative style was preserved to give birth to the first opera « after the Italian manner », Arsinoe, Queen of Cyprus. The progress of this work gives valuable information on operatic practice in Venice and London in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Thomas Clayton’s original work paved the way for the introduction of Italian opera in a hybrid form. This opera « after the Italian manner » can certainly be seen as a bridge between the English semi-opera of the Restoration and the Italian opera which was to prevail on the London stage from 1711 onwards, mainly through its principal exponent: George Frederic Handel.

Migrations culturelles de l'histoire de la représentation aux XVIIIème et XIXème siècles en Europe
Jérome Bonnet
Université de Tours
Arsinoe de Tommaso Stanzani : voyage d'un drame lyrique de Bologne (1676) à Londres (1705)