Personalities | Nicola Francesco Haym | Late Baroque | Opera
Haym was the skilful literary adaptor who prepared several of Handel’s best opera libretti, including Radamisto, Giulio Cesare in Egitto, Tamerlano and Rodelinda. Rather than writing new texts for Handel, Haym’s talent was reorganizing old Italian texts so that they were adequately dramatic and balanced while also reducing the amount of simple recitative for the English-speaking audience. He also adapted the French dramas Teseo and Amadigi into Italian for Handel.
Haym was an antiquarian and book-collector, but was also Handel’s continuo cellist, and had been a member of Cardinal Ottoboni’s orchestra in Rome for six years before coming to London in 1701. Although he died in 1729, it has been supposed that traces of his unfinished work could be evident in some of Handel’s later operas.
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