Eventually, the legends surrounding Charlemagne became a substantial body of fantasy fiction. Sorceresses, giants, and other fantastic elements were added to the legends originally centered on conflicts of Christians vs. Muslims. These legends inspired Italian poets such as Matteo Maria Boiardo. Torquato Tasso. and Ludovico Ariosto, whose epics featuring the hero Orlando, the Italian form of Roland, in turn supplied plots to many operas and other entertainments through the eighteenth century. Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene belongs to the genre as well. Characters and incidents from this material appear in many Baroque and Classical operas, including Handel’s Orlando (1733), Ariodante and Alcina (1735), as well as Haydn’s Orlando paladino (1782).

Source: Charlemagne – RationalWiki