She Was Despiséd: Handel and Susannah Cibber

Wednesday 26 February - Sunday 28 September 2014

To celebrate the tercentenary of her birth, Handel House Museum presents an exhibition on the life and work of Susannah Cibber.

From a promising start as a singer in a small opera company, Cibber’s career and social standing were fatally blighted by the scandalous trial in which her husband Theophilus accused her of adultery. Unable to appear on the London stage, she fled to Dublin. It was here that she was chosen by Handel to sing in the first performance of Messiah in 1742, giving a moving performance of the aria ‘He was despiséd’.

From her performance in the London premiere of Messiah a year later her career blossomed once again. She became one of the most significant actresses of the 18th century, and for many years was David Garrick’s leading lady.

The exhibition will tell Susannah’s fascinating, dramatic and moving life story, through exhibits, contemporary texts, music and a programme of related events.

Exhibition Talks

Listen below talks which were researched and delivered by Handel House staff and volunteers.