Personalities | Margherita Durastanti | Late Baroque | Opera
fl. 1700–34, Italian
The soprano Durastanti’s first known appearance was at Venice in 1700. By 1707 she was employed by the Marquis Ruspoli in Rome, where she first met Handel, who composed several superb cantatas for her. Durastanti worked in Venice from 1709 until 1712, where she sang in nine operas by Lotti and the title role in Handel’s Agrippina. She sang in Lotti’s Teofane (1729) in Dresden, where Handel heard her and engaged her to join the Royal Academy of Music in London. Handel composed prominent roles for her in Radamisto, Ottone and Giulio Cesare in Egitto. A second brief spell working for Handel in 1733–34 meant that she had a longer working relationship with the composer than any other musician, but the alterations Handel made to Arianna suggest that her stamina and range had diminished.
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