The King´s Consort

Ottone, Re di Germania


Wednesday, 17th November 2010
7 pm

  1. 17.11.2010
  2. 7:00 p.m.


Lust for power, intrigues and false identities are indispensable in opera
seria, but in Ottone the audience is kept on tenterhooks even longer than
usual: by marrying Teofane, the daughter of the Byzantine emperor, the
German king Ottone intends to expand his power to include Rome. On
the other hand, Gismonda, the widow of the banished Italian king, plans
to secure power for her son Adalberto by means of a trick: since Teofane
has so far only seen her beloved and future husband in a picture, Gismonda
presents Adalberto to her, claiming he is Ottone. This leads to an almost
inextricable tangle involving love and politics that Händel portrays
with truly stirring music. Ottone was one of his best loved operas; many
melodies were so popular that they were whistled and hummed all over
London. Ottone also gave rise to one of the best known anecdotes relating
to Händel: Francesca Cuzzoni, the new prima donna, complained
about the quality of her opening aria. Händel grabbed her by the waist and
threatened to throw her out of the window. She then backed down and it
was this aria, “Falsa imagine”, that she had initially rejected that laid the
foundations of her fame as one of the most expressive singers of her day.