The Kennedy Center

Lotti Antonio


Though his nationality may be in doubt, Antonio Lotti's musical success in the 1700s is not. Born in 1667 in Hanover, Lotti was a foremost opera composer of his time, reaching a high point when his operas inaugurated the opera house in Dresden in 1717 and were part of the marriage celebrations for Crown Prince Friedrich and Maria Josepha in 1719.
Lotti's father was Kapellmeister and likely provided early training. By age 16 Lotti was studying in Venice. In 1687 he was an alto singer at the Basilica of St. Mark, where he continued through various posts until his death in 1740. Besides duties at St. Mark's, Lotti wrote music for a female choir he trained.
Lotti wrote sacred music for St. Mark's and solo motets, choral works, and oratorios. Many contatas were for one voice, but some short pieces were from more singers. Lotti entered opera composition in 1693, with his most successful period being 1706 to 1717 when 16 operas were performed. Venetian opera was a focal point of entertainment for aristocracy and affluent tourists and appealed to foreign composers. Venetian opera featured elaborate productions and small casts with performances interspersed with choruses, dance and chamber orchestra. Operas were of two groups: one for Roman nobles with scenarios written by Venetian or Neopolitan composers based on Roman mythology, and one for foreign, notably German and English, patrons written by German composers with scenarios based on Gothic legend and exotic subjects from Persia, Ethiopia, and China.
In 1717 Lotti was engaged by the Crown Prince of Saxony for his wedding. On leave from St. Mark's Lotti took his wife, noted soprano Santa Stella, and a complete opera troupe to Dresden. In 1719 Lotti left Dresden, keeping the carriage and horses given to him for his return to Venice.