Esther began in 1718 as a masque, or chamber drama (HWV 50a), composed early in Handel's English career, and before the body of his success as an opera composer. It was first composed and performed at Cannons, where the Duke of Chandos employed Handel from 1716 - 1718 as resident composer writing for his patron's singers and small orchestra. Little is known about this first version of Esther. The version which survives is of a revision in 1720, also probably intended for private performance at Cannons, where the very wealthy Duke of Chandos employed a group of musicians and singers, and where Acis and Galatea, Handel's first non-religious vocal work in the English language, also had its premiere in 1718. :122 The Cannons version of Esther was in six scenes with no break and written for an ensemble of one soprano, an alto, two tenors and two basses. Like Acis and Galatea, Esther may have been staged or semi-staged, with the soloists singing together to create a chorus when required. The author of the libretto is uncertain.

Librettist John Arbuthnot (after the Old Testament drama by Jean Racine)
Date of composition 1720 (1718-1720)
Premiered 1718
Type Oratorio
Catalogue HWV 50
Spoken language English
Instruments Orchestra
Voice (Soprano) - Esther
Voice (Tenor) - Ahasuerus, King of Persia
Voice (Tenor) - Mordecai
Voice (Bass) - Haman
Voice (Soprano) - Israelite Woman
Voice (Alto) - Priest
Voice (Tenor) - First Israelite
Voice (Bass) - Second Israelite
Voice (Bass) - Habdonah
Voice (Bass) - Persian Officer
Chorus/Choir - Israelites, Persian Soldiers
Autotranslations beta Georg Friedrich Haendel: Esther, HWV 50
Georg Friedrich Händel: Esther, HWV 50
Georg Friedrich Händel: Esther, HWV 50