Handel - Flavio

Flavio, King of Lombardy and Britain, has a young protégé called Vitige and two elderly counsellors, Ugone and Lotario. Lotario has a daughter, Emilia, who is betrothed to Guido, the son of Ugone. Ugone also has a daughter, Teodata, who is in love with Vitige, but comes to be loved by the king.

Act 1

At dawn, Vitige slips away from the door of his lover, Teodata. The families of Lotario and Ugone arrive for the wedding of Emilia and Guido. Their vows exchanged, the lovers part.
Ugone brings his daughter Teodata to court to present her to Flavio, who is immediately attracted to her. Lotario arrives to invite the king to the wedding party for Emilia and Guido. Informed by a letter from Britain that his governor there is ill, Flavio is about to appoint Lotario to this position when it occurs to him that by sending Ugone instead he will have more ready access to Teodata. Lotario, who expected the job, is bitterly disappointed. Flavio quizzes Vitige about Teodata, but an embarrassed Vitige only says that “she is not pleasing to [his] eyes”. Guido meets his father Ugone, who complains that Lotario insulted him by slapping his face; he requires Guido to seek vengeance. Guido reflects unhappily that the only course open to him is to place honour before love and kill the father of Emilia. Meeting him, Emilia is confused and disturbed by his questions.

Act 2

By afternoon, Flavio is infatuated with Teodata, but his advances are interrupted by a distracted Ugone. Teodata feels her affair with Vitige has been discovered, and confesses privately to her now enraged father.
Lotario bluntly tells Emilia she must reject Guido, since he is the son of the man who has thwarted his ambition. Still worse, Guido continues his obscure questioning and asks her to go away.
Flavio orders Vitige to bring Teodata to him. Secretly Vitige suggests she feign affection for the king to buy time. She is suspiciously happy to do so, but Vitige trusts her.
Guido challenges Lotario, and in the duel which follows he kills him. Before he dies Lotario names his killer to Emilia. Her heart is broken, since she must have revenge on her husband.

Act 3

At nightfall Emilia denounces Guido to the king, while Ugone defends him. Flavio is upset, but really more interested in the arrival of Teodata; he first gets Vitige to plead his cause, then takes it up himself in earnest. When Teodata seems to respond, Vitige is wildly jealous.
Guido offers his sword to Emilia, but she cannot bring herself to kill him.
Overhearing a quarrel between Vitige and Teodata, Flavio guesses the truth. When Guido gives himself up to the king, he summons Emilia and leads her to believe that Guido has been beheaded. Her grief reveals her abiding love. The two pairs of lovers are at last united, and Ugone is packed off to Britain.

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