OUP Archive edition. The oratorio Athalia tells the Old Testament story of the Queen Athalia. Handel composed it in 1733 for Oxford University where it was first performed later that year during the celebrations for the awarding of honorary degrees. The great success of this performance is generally regarded as a reason for Handel's renewed interest in the oratorio form. As was frequently the case, Handel also carried on composing this work after the first performance. Thus, for the version which was performed in London in 1735, he introduced numbers in Italian for the Italian singer Carestini in the role of Joad. He also ended the work with an organ concerto. or the performance in 1756 he drew on other works for the third act. Conversely, large parts of the music to Athalia form the basis for other works by Handel such as Parnasso in festa (HWV 73) and the Wedding Anthem (HWV 262).