"Ariodante" was the first work which Handel composed for the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden after his contract with the King's Theatre, Haymarket ran out in mid-1734.
"Ariodante" stands out amongst Handel's opera works by means of its combination of excellent and challenging music coupled with a first-class plot. There is probably no other Handel opera which contains such a wealth of striking and catchy arias as are found in the first act of "Ariodante " alone. The three wide-ranging arias composed for the castrato Carestini are amongst the greatest bravura pieces.
The plot is based on an episode in Ariosto's epic "Orlando furioso" (1516). The central event of the drama, the trick with which Duke Polinesso convinces his commander Ariodante that Ginevra is unfaithful, was also used by Shakespeare in "Much Ado About Nothing".