Pastor fido, Il (The Faithful Shepherd)
  • George Frideric Handel. Opera in three acts. 1712. Revised for two productions in 1734.
  • Libretto by Giacomo Rossi, after the play by Battista Guarini.
  • First performance at the Queen’s Theatre, London, on 22nd November 1712.

In Arcadia Diana, goddess of the hunt, is displeased, only to be pacified by the union of a couple of heavenly ancestry. These are thought to be the huntsman Silvio, whose interests lie only in hunting, and the shepherdess Amarilli, who is in love with the shepherd Mirtillo. Other shepherdesses intervene to add further intrigue, Eurilla in devious pursuit of Mirtillo and Dorinda aiming at Silvio’s love, which she wins. Matters are settled in the temple of Diana, where it is declared that Mirtillo’s ancestry allows him to marry Amarilli, previously, through the trickery of Eurilla, condemned to death for breaking her vows to Silvio.

Based on one of the best known Italian pastoral plays of the late 16th century, Il pastor fido (The Faithful Shepherd) did not at first meet the expectations of London audiences, after the success of Handel’s first opera for London, Rinaldo. A revival in 1734, with a much revised and newly composed score, won greater success. The ballet music incorporated in the version of the opera staged in November 1734 is sometimes heard in concert, as is the overture.