About this work
George Frideric Handel had the biggest hit of the London Italian opera season of 1723 with his Ottone, re di Germania (Otto, King of Germany). A two-and-a-half hour, three-act opera, Ottone had a libretto by Nicola Haym, based on the first century story of Otto, the barbarian king of Germany, who travels to decadent Rome to marry Theophanes, the Princess of the Eastern Empire. As in any great opera, there is a powerful story about love thwarted and regained and, as in any Italian opera of the period, there is convoluted palace intrigue. But, also as in any Italian opera of the period, every problem was solved by the end of the opera and every character lived happily ever after. Among the best-known arias from Ottone are "La speranza e giunta" (Hope is with us); "Vieni, o figlio" (Come, my son); and "Tanti affani" (Such troubles). However, the real reason for Ottone's success was the presence of three of the greatest singers of the time taking the three principal roles: Senesino, Cussoni, and Berenstadt. The second most popular of Handel's Italian operas, Ottone was given 34 performances in Handel's life.