George Frideric Handel • Ariodante

Dramma per musica in three acts, HWV 33 (1735)
Text by an unknown author after Antonio Salvi’s Ginevra principessa di Scozia (1708), based on the epos Orlando furioso by Ludivico Ariosto

In Italian with German and English surtitles

New production


  • 02 June, 19:00


  • 05 June, 15:00

Print programme (PDF)


Diego Fasolis, 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, 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
Salzburger Bachchor


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…

William Turner, Linlithgow Palace, 1801, oil on canvas, © Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool/Bridgeman Images




The events for Whitsun 2016 can already be purchased online as subscriptions. Individual tickets are available online from October 14, 2016.

Download: Programme Folder Salzburg Whitsun Festival 2017