Ottone in villa

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Ottone in villa (Otho at his villa, RV 729) is an opera in three acts by Antonio Vivaldi to an Italian libretto by Domenico Lalli (the pseudonym of Sebastiano Biancardi). It was Vivaldi's first opera and premiered on 17 May 1713 at the Teatro delle Grazie in Vicenza.[1] Lalli's pastoral drama is set in ancient Rome and was a condensed adaptation of Francesco Maria Piccioli's satirical libretto for Carlo Pallavicino's opera Messalina (1679). However, Lalli changed several of the characters in Piccioli's libretto. Messalina became an invented character, Cleonilla. Emperor Claudius became another Roman emperor, Otho (Ottone), who had already appeared as a protagonist in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea (1642) and in Handel's Agrippina (1709).[2]


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 17 May 1713
Cleonilla soprano Anna Maria Giusti "La Romanina"[3]
Ottone contralto Diana Vico
Caio Silio soprano castrato Bartolomeo Bartoli
Decio tenor Gaetano Mossi
Tullia soprano Margherita Fazzoli


The Roman Emperor Ottone is in love with Cleonilla, who can't resist flirting with two young Romans, Ostilio and Caio. Ostilio is in reality a woman, Tullia, who disguised herself because she's in love with Caio. She plans to kill Cleonilla out of jealousy, but she first tries to dissuade her from her relation with Caio. Caio sees the meeting and misinterprets it as a romantic encounter. He warns Ottone, who commands him to kill Ostilio. Before he can execute the order, Ostilio reveals himself to be Tullia. Cleonilla claims to have always known it, to conciliate Ottone. He believes her and the opera closes with the marriage of Tullia and Caio.




  1. ^ Casaglia ("17 Maggio 1713, Mercoledì"). Note that while most sources give the premiere venue as the Teatro delle Grazie, Strohm (1985, p. 141) gives it as the Teatro Nuovo di Piazza. There is considerable confusion in the names of the theatres in Vicenza. Initially, the Teatro delle Grazie was called the Nuovo Teatro delle Grazie and co-existed with the Teatro di Piazza. According to Folena and Arnaldi (1976, p. 295), the Teatro delle Grazie was built on the site of the Teatro delle Garzerie which burnt down in 1683.
  2. ^ Ketterer (2008, pp. 61–62)
  3. ^ Premiere cast list from Strohm (1985, p.141). See also Casaglia.
  4. ^ Vasta (November 1998)


  • Casaglia, Gherardo, "17 Maggio 1713, Mercoledì", Almanacco Amadeus, Accessed 7 May 2009.
  • Folena, Gianfranco and Arnaldi, Girolamo, Storia della cultura veneta, Vol. 5, pt. 1, N. Pozza, 1976.
  • Ketterer, Robert C., Ancient Rome in Early Opera, University of Illinois Press, 2008. ISBN 0-252-03378-7
  • Strohm, Reinhard, Essays on Handel and Italian opera, Cambridge University Press Archive, 1985. ISBN 0-521-26428-6
  • Vasta, Stephen Francis, "Records: Vivaldi: Ottone in Villa", Opera News, November 1998. Accessed 7 May 2009.