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Handel's Atalanta was first performed on 12 May 1736. Composed one year earlier, it came to form part of the short season immediately following the wedding of Frederick, Prince of Wales (April 27). The same season had begun with a revival of Ariodante, now featuring the Italian castrato Gioachino Conti, who introduced "suitcase" arias from other works in which he had recently appeared.

Handel's autograph for Atalanta is in the British Library, with further material in the Manchester Public Library.

The text of this pastorale, by Belisario Valeriani, was entitled La caccia in Etolia when it was first written (for the setting by Fortunato Chelleri performed in Ferrara, 1715). The libretto was sufficiently popular that formed the basis of revivals and new settings given in Modena (1716), Ravenna (1726), Florence (1727), and Vienna (1733).