‘Departed ghosts in living forms appear’: Abiathar, Doeg, and Jennens’s conception of Saul

Natassa Varka
Although it is not uncommon to find discrepancies between the wordbook and the primary musical sources of a Handel oratorio, even the first page of the wordbook of Saul might puzzle anyone familiar with Handel’s music: the Dramatis Personae names two characters that will not necessarily appear in a modern performance or recording of the work. The first—Abiathar—was described by Winton Dean as ‘a ghost with no music’, and his presence in three places in...

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