Prompt Book for Radamisto by George Friedrich Handel

This printed libretto, annotated in two different hands, is the only extant prompt of a Handel opera dating from his lifetime. It shows the Italian words as sung on the left with the English translation on the right to guide the audience through the plot (at this point, the auditorium was not darkened during performances). 

The annotations in this copy reveal information not usually known about productions in this period. For example, notes as to the number of attendants present on stage at various points (communicating the status of the leading characters), points of entry from left or right and the number and nature of the different stage settings required, including a practical bridge capable of bearing the weight of attendant Soldiers 'with Pikes'.

Sound effects are also mentioned, notably, Zenobia's attempt to drown herself by jumping into the river is preceded by the note 'stone ready'. This is a note to the backstage hand to get a stone ready to throw into a tank of water.

It was not normal practice to print the libretto far enough in advance of the performance for it to be annotated by the stage management, which makes this copy even more unique and puzzling to scholars.

Use the viewer controls to browse and rotate pages in the manuscript or zoom in to detail (requires Flash).


                                                   

Radamisto
Prompt Book
Opera by George Friedrich Handel
1720

A gift in your will

You may not have thought of including a gift to a museum in your will, but the V&A is a charity and legacies form an important source of funding for our work. It is not just the great collectors and the wealthy who leave legacies to the V&A. Legacies of all sizes, large and small, make a real difference to what we can do and your support can help ensure that future generations enjoy the V&A as much as you have.

More

Shop online

I Like to Draw/I Like to Write - Paperback

I Like to Draw/I Like to Write - Paperback

This double-sided activity book is filled with clever prompts for drawing in one half of the book, and writing in the other. With 128 doodling, storyt…

Buy now

Event - Gieves & Hawkes: The Invention of the English Gentleman

Mon 24 November 2014 19:00

Since 1912, the iconic address No.1 Savile Row has been home to the legendary tailors Gieves & Hawkes. Purveyors of the finest in men’s clothing, the company began by designing outfits for Britain’s most illustrious military officers, including Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington.

Book online