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GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL
and Handel, driven from the house in which he had worked for fourteen years, had to emigrate with his troupe to John Rich's place at Covent Garden—a sort of music-hall where Opera took its turn with all kinds of other spectacles: ballets, pantomimes, and harlequinades. In Rich's troupe some French dancers were to be found, amongst whom was "la Salle," who was shortly to arouse great enthusiasm amongst the English public with two tragic dances: Pygmalion and Bacchus and Ariadne. Handel, who had known the French art for a long time, saw how far he could draw on these new resources, and he opened the season of 1734 at Covent Garden with a first attempt in the field of the French ballet opera: Terpsichore (November 9, 1734), in which "la Salle" took the principal rôle. A month later a Pasticcio followed, Orestes, where Handel gave a similar important part to "la Salle," and to her expressive dances. Finally, he intermingled the dance and the choruses closely with the dramatic action in two masterpieces of poetry and beautiful
- It was John Rich who had produced here the Beggar's Opera of Gay and Pepusch in 1728—that parody of Handel's operas.
- She was the pupil of Mile Prévost, and made her début in 1725 with Rich. See the study of M. Emile Dacier: Une danseuse française à Londres, au début du XVIII siècle (French number of the S.I.M. May and July, 1907).
- It is interesting to notice that it was with the same subjects of Pygmalion and of Ariadne that J. J. Rousseau and Georg Benda inaugurated in 1770-1775 the Melodrama or "opera without singing."
- He has been accused of knowing it too well. The Abbé Prevost wrote exactly at this same period in Le Pour et le Centre (1733): "...Certain critics accuse him of having taken for his basis an infinite number of beautiful things from Lully, and especially from our French cantatas, and of having the effrontery of disguising them in the Italian manner...."