Handel’s opera Lotario was first heard at the King’s Theater in the Haymarket on 2 December 1729 and had a run of nine performances. Though never revived in the composer’s lifetime, Handel reused many of its arias in his later operas, sometimes altering the words.
The historical background of the plot is the conflict between Otto I (912–973) and Berengar of Ivrea for the Italian crown and Otto’s marriage to the Italian queen Adelaide in 951. In the course of composition, the name of the hero (“ Ottone ” in Salvi’s libretto) was altered to “ Lotario ” since Handel had already written an opera entitled Ottone on the life of Otto II (955–983) in 1722.
The vocal score contains the version composed for the performances of December 1729 and January 1730. It is based on the Urtext of the Halle Handel Edition.