Alceste ("Alcides"; HWV 45, HG 46b, HHA I/30) is a masque or semi-opera by George Frideric Handel. It was his only complete theatre project ever attempted by Handel, and he composed the music when he was nearly 65.

It was written as incidental music to a lost play by Tobias Smollett and possibly included song lyrics by Handel's frequent collaborator Thomas Morell,[1] which was rehearsed at Covent Garden Theatre but never performed. There was an overture and songs for Acts 1 and 4, 19 movements in total. It was composed from 27 December 1749 to 8 January 1750. Handel later used the music in The Choice of Hercules, HWV 69, and revivals of Alexander Balus, HWV 65, and Hercules, HWV 60.


Handel: Alceste - Early Opera Company

  • Conductor: Christian Curnyn
  • Principal singers: Lucy Crowe, Benjamin Hulett, Andrew Foster-Williams
  • Recording date: November 2011
  • Label: Chaconne/Chandos Early Music - CHAN0788 (CD)

Handel: Alceste - Academy of Ancient Music

  • Conductor: Christopher Hogwood
  • Principal singers: Emma Kirkby, Patrizia Kwella, Judith Nelson, Paul Elliott, David Thomas, Margaret Cable
  • Recording date:
  • Label: L'oiseau-lyre London/Decca - 421479 (CD)

Handel: Alceste - Le Concert de l'Hostel Dieu

  • Conductor: Franck-Emmanuel Comte
  • Principal singers: Stéphanie Révidat, Roxanne Comiotto, Jean Delescluse, François Bazola
  • Recording date: August 1997
  • Label: Absalon (Musicsoft/Media 7)/LCHD897 (CD)


  1. ^ King, Richard G. (Spring 2009). "Who Wrote the Texts for Handel's "Alceste?"". The Musical Times. 150 (1906): 93–96. JSTOR 25597605. (Subscription required (help)). 

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