A curious time trip with Elisabeth Duparc (?–1778): born in France and trained in Italy, she found fame and recognition in London. The Francesina (“little Frenchwoman”) was one of Handel’s last muses, at a time when Handel was increasingly abandoning the splendour of Italian opera for the spiritual elevation of the oratorio. Duparc’s contemporaries praised the sound and agility of her voice, and both Mary Delany and Charles Burney gave detailed testimony to the “warbling” quality of her voice. Consequently, Handel composed “nightingale arias” for her, such as The Morning Lark (from Semele) and Nasconde l’usignol (from Deidamia). In this programme, Belgian singer Sophie Junker pays tribute to La Francesina and celebrates the fruits of her collaboration with Handel, which lasted more than a decade.