For more than 25 years, René Jacobs has dedicated his life to baroque operas and works with the best ensembles for early music. On occasion of the 2009 Haydn Year the renowned Freiburger Barockorchester and outstanding baroque opera singers such as Marlis Petersen, Alexandrina Pendatchanska, Pietro Spagnoli and Tom Randle present Haydn’s most successful opera at the Berlin Staatsoper. ‘Orlando Paladino’, written in 1782, was Haydn’s most famous opera during his lifetime, with thirty performances in Esterháza in the first two years after its composition. The libretto, a ’drama eroicomico’, gives scope to Haydn’s frequently puckish sense of humour, as well as his inventive melodic expression. Most semi-serious operas of the period typically inserted comic characters into an essentially serious story but Haydn expanded the comedy even into the more serious scenes.