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The libretto of what is likely Handel’s shortest opera – and apart from Mozart’s “Lucio Silla” the most important musical setting of the text – is based on Plutarch’s biography of Roman consul and dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla. He is historically known for his reign of terror dominated by cruelty and violence, his excessive lifestyle as well as for his unexpected abdication followed by a withdrawal into private life. This surprising, voluntary relinquishment of power allowed Handel to adhere to the customary happy end (lieto fine) of the baroque opera.

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