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Anna Maria Strada, Prima Donna of G. F. Handel

Judit Zsovár

George Frideric Handel’s longest continuous collaboration with a leading singer took place between 1729 and 1737 with Anna Maria Strada del Pò (1703–1775), a soprano who may have sung ‘entirely di petto’; that is, with a chest-like vocal production in the head range as well: powerfully and sonorously. The investigation of her peculiar vocal features and career, in connection with the music written for her by Handel and other composers, involved musicological research methods and findings of the historically informed performance practice. The conclusions rest on three main pillars: musical sources; surviving descriptions of her singing; and period treatises, completed with the author’s practical experiences as a classical singer.

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