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The ORATORIOS of Antonio Lotti

Background

It is not known how many oratorios Lotti wrote. Only two are known to survive complete; there are libretti and documentary records of at least six more; and there are a handful of arias that are not found in surviving libretti. At least four of his oratorios were written for the Venetian Ospedale: the Mendicanti and the Incurabili. Two were performed at the Imperial court in Vienna; others were written for performance in Rome, Prague and Bologna.

The two complete oratorios lend themselves to modern performance perhaps more readily than his operas: small instrumentation, small ensemble casts (with few castrato roles), short recits, two acts.

We are planning to produce free-to-download editions of both Lotti's surviving complete oratorios, and then to provide collated material for the fragmentary sources. Instrumental parts are available on request.

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L'Umiltà Coronata in Ester


First written in Latin as 'Humilitas Exaltata, seu Esther Regina' for performance at the Ospedale dei Mendicanti in 1712, but rewritten in Italian for the Imperial Court in Vienna in 1714. Only the Italian music survives. Libretto by Pietro Pariati, based on the Biblical story of Esther.

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Il Voto Crudele


First performed at the Imperial Court in Vienna, this is the familiar oratorio subject of Jephthah. Libretto by Pietro Pariati.

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San Romualdo


Written for performance in Rome in 1703. The text, written by Abbate Romano Merighi, tells the story of Saint Romualdo, the founder of the  Camaldolese monastic order.

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La Giuditta guerriera


The Biblical story of Judith. Written for performance at the Ospedale degli Incurabili in 1701. Libretto by F. Tomassini.

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Gioas, Re di Giuda


 The Old Testament story of Joash. Written for performance at the Ospedale degli Incurabili in 1701. Libretto by Zaccaria Vallaresso.

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Il ritorno di Tobia


 The Apocrypha story of Tobit, with a libretto by G. Melani; known to have been performed in Bologna in 1723. Earlier performances in Venice are likely.

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Passion / Resurrection


There is a surviving libretto of an oratorio by Lotti performed in Prague in 1724,  with the title Jesus Christus in cruce pro nobis mortuus. This is a setting (in Latin) of the discovery of the Resurrection by Mary, John, Mary Magdalene and others. This was almost certainly not its first performance. 

Fragmentary surviving arias also hint at a possible Passion oratorio: there are meditations on the passion, and even Jesus' prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane. 

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