Antonio Cesti and Giacinto Cicognini’s frisky opera, Orontea, begins with an argument between philosophy and love as to who is the stronger. Love heads off to Egypt to create havoc chez the Egyptian Queen Orontea, but at her steamy court the contest seems to be more between the opposing delights of lust and alcohol. Orontea’s determination to remain a virgin queen dedicated to her subjects quickly crumbles on the sudden appearance of the painter Alidoro, a man who, it appears, has the ability to reduce any woman he meets to jelly in a way that would send Don Giovanni into paroxysms of jealousy. Every woman, that is, except for the ageing Aristea, who claims to be his mother and who, in turn, has the hots for the pretty young boy Ismero, who is in fact the girl Giacinta. How different, how very different, from the home life of our own dear queen.