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George Frideric Handel Ariodante

Dramma per musica in three acts, HWV 33 (1734)
Libretto by an anonymous author after Antonio Salvi’s Libretto Ginevra, principessa di Scozia (1708) after Ludovico Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando furioso (cantos IV-VI)

Sung in Italian with German and English surtitles

New production

Duration of the opera approx. 4:00 hours.


  • 02 June 2017, 19:00


  • 05 June 2017, 15:00

Print programme (PDF)


Gianluca Capuano, Conductor
Christof Loy, Director
Johannes Leiacker, Sets
Ursula Renzenbrink, Costumes
Roland Edrich, Lighting
Andreas Heise, Choreography
Klaus Bertisch, Dramaturgy
Alois Glaßner, Chorus Master


Nathan Berg, The King of Scotland
Cecilia Bartoli, Ariodante
Kathryn Lewek, Ginevra
Norman Reinhardt, Lurcanio
Christophe Dumaux, Polinesso
Sandrine Piau, Dalinda
Kristofer Lundin, Odoardo

Les Musiciens du Prince – Monaco
Andrea Marchiol, Continuo
Salzburger Bachchor

William C. Banks, Christopher C. Basile, Brennan Clost, Andrew Cummings, Chris Agius Darmanian, Rouven Pabst, Rory Stead, Jack Widdowson


Charming scenes in a sunlit garden sit alongside wicked schemes concocted in the dead of night. Cheerfulness and optimism contrast with gloom and despair. Arcadian pleasure keels over into nightmarish fright. A master of musical contrast, George Frideric Handel pulled out all the operatic stops in Ariodante, brilliantly showcasing avowals of love and power in all their various forms. In so doing, the German composer and impresario, who had enjoyed success with his London opera company during the 1720s, was fighting for his artistic survival. Enthusiasm for Italian opera had waned and Handel was facing fierce competition from a rival promoter.
While caught in this quandary, the composer was presented in early 1735 with the opportunity to put on a new opera at the Theatre Royal, which had opened in Covent Garden two years previously. In order to entice his English audience, Handel took up a Scottish theme and augmented the action of the opera with ballets. The story is based on a scene from Ariosto’s Orlando furioso: Ariodante comes with his brother Lurcanio to the court of the Scottish King and falls in love with Ginevra, the King’s daughter. But Polinesso has also cast his eye on her…