In 1745, George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) enjoyed tremendous financial success during Lent by performing a series of his oratorios at London's Covent Garden. He wanted to repeat this in the following winter season of 1744/45 and additionally present two of his latest works. But Handel had misjudged the situation: While his oratorios were enthusiastically received by appreciative audiences during the "quiet" Lent season, there was simply too much competition in the winter with its busy theater schedules, so that the hoped-for success failed to materialize. Even the premiere of Hercules in January 1745 at the King's Theatre in the Haymarket, a mixture of opera and oratorio, could not turn the tide, moreover, cases of illness in the select cast turned the performance into a debacle and the audience missed the sensual appeal and opulence in the work. Handel broke off the series of performances. However, what appeared to be a low point in the composer's creative life was later seen as a high point in his dramatic oeuvre and was recognized by modern musicologists as a progressive and startling new musical concept. Particularly noteworthy in this context is the mad scene of Hercules' wife Dejanira, with which Handel was one of the first composers in music history to create such a large-scale, harrowing scene.