Margherita Durastanti (active 1700–1734) was an Italian singer of the 18th century. Vocally, she is best described as a soprano, though later in her career her tessitura descended to that of a mezzo-soprano. First heard of professionally in Mantua in 1700–01, she later appeared in Bologna and Reggio Emilia (1710), Milan and Reggio (1713) and Florence (1715). Today she is particularly remembered for her association with the composer George Frideric Handel: indeed she enjoyed a longer personal association with the composer than any other musician.

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  • Margherita Durastanti (active 1700–1734) was an Italian singer of the 18th century. Vocally, she is best described as a soprano, though later in her career her tessitura descended to that of a mezzo-soprano. First heard of professionally in Mantua in 1700–01, she later appeared in Bologna and Reggio Emilia (1710), Milan and Reggio (1713) and Florence (1715). Today she is particularly remembered for her association with the composer George Frideric Handel: indeed she enjoyed a longer personal association with the composer than any other musician. As well as performing many of his early Italian solo cantatas, Durastanti's first roles for Handel included Mary Magdalene in his oratorio La resurrezione (1708) and the title role in Agrippina (1709), in her capacity as prima donna of the S Giovanni Grisostomo Theatre in Venice, where she sang from 1709 to 1712. After singing at Parma, Florence, Naples (where she appeared in operas by Scarlatti), and, in 1719, Dresden, she came to London in 1720. News of her imminent arrival evinced the following unflattering comment from the librettist Rolli: However, she received a strong recommendation from Steffan Benedetto Pallavicini, court poet at Dresden: She was offered her contract by the Royal Academy company rather late in the day, so was probably not the Academy's first choice as a member of it. Handel on the other hand stayed in Dresden until her contract arrived. The roles Handel wrote for her during the next five years demonstrate her considerable abilities as a musician and actress, displaying a wide range of characters, both male and female, and an ability to cope with wide dissonant leaps in vocal lines and other difficulties, such as chromaticism and dramatic pauses. (en)
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  • Margherita Durastanti (active 1700–1734) was an Italian singer of the 18th century. Vocally, she is best described as a soprano, though later in her career her tessitura descended to that of a mezzo-soprano. First heard of professionally in Mantua in 1700–01, she later appeared in Bologna and Reggio Emilia (1710), Milan and Reggio (1713) and Florence (1715). Today she is particularly remembered for her association with the composer George Frideric Handel: indeed she enjoyed a longer personal association with the composer than any other musician. (en)
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  • Margherita Durastanti (en)
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  • female (en)
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