sat 25/05/2024

Handel

Aci by the River, London Handel Festival, Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse review - myths for the #MeToo age

“Site-specific” performance locations rarely come more atmospheric, or evocative, than this one. Beyond the East India Dock basin, with the hedgehog-backed dome of the O2 looming just across the Thames on a gusty spring evening, a cavernous “chain...

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First Person: conductor Peter Whelan on coming full circle with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra

There's something undeniable about the way music can weave itself into the fabric of our lives, shaping our passions and leaving an indelible mark on our journeys. For me, this magic has been particularly intertwined with the Monteverdi Choir and...

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Esther, London Handel Festival, St George’s Hanover Square review - a lopsided celebratory oratorio

“Spring Awakenings” promised as the theme of this year’s London Handel Festival began with a big if messy vernal bouquet of “Alleluia"s and “God Save the King”s. Esther, Handel's first London oratorio, seemed like an appropriately jubilant way to...

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First Person: Laurence Cummings on his 25th and final year as Musical Director of the London Handel Festival

At the time of writing, rehearsals are well under way for the London Handel Festival 2024. It’s a big year for me as it’s my 25th and final year as Musical Director.Though preparations are keeping me very busy, I have found the odd quiet moment to...

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Rodelinda, The English Concert, Bicket, Saffron Hall review - perfect team helps us stay the long Handel course

If ever a marriage was made in heaven, it would have to be the one between Lucy Crowe’s beleaguered Queen Rodelinda and Iestyn Davies’ King Bertarido, the husband she believes dead and almost loses a second time. The duet at the end of Handel’s gem-...

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Jephtha, Royal Opera review - uncomfortable sacrifice oratorio not seismic enough

“Tell me,” The West Wing’s President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) asks of a right-wing TV host who uses the Bible to call homosexuality an abomination, “I’m interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21.7… What would a...

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L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, Monteverdi Choir, EBS, Sousa, St Martin-in-the-Fields review - Handel at his most magical

There was a good reason why Milton never added a Moderato, a “middle way”, to his masterly poems on mirth in bright day (L’Allegro) and more reflective pleasures by night (Il Penseroso), and a bad one why Handel allowed Charles Jennens to tack on...

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Classical CDs: Tambourines, multiphonics and hot chocolate

 Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos 1-4, Paganini Rhapsody Lukáš Vondráček, Prague Symphony Orchestra/Tomáš Brauner (Supraphon)Yuja Wang, Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel (DG)Yet more Rachmaninov, but I’m not complaining, and comparing...

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Prom 50: Samson, Academy of Ancient Music review - a gradual build in musical and dramatic intensity

1743 was the year in which Handel presented both the Messiah and Samson to Londoners – and for most audience members the merits of one clearly eclipsed the other. Fascinatingly it was Samson that was seen to be the more successful – after breaking...

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Semele, Glyndebourne review - the dark side of desire

It never rains but it pours – and hails, snows or, above all, thunders. The presiding tone of Semele, in Adele Thomas’s new production for Glyndebourne, matches the current English summer with its grey skies, glowering clouds and stormy outbursts....

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Handel for the King, Le Concert Spirituel, Niquet, Wigmore Hall at St James's Spanish Place review - post-coronation celebrations

Union Jacks could be stowed away, and EU ones figuratively, furtively flourished: this was a concert of celebratory music for a Hanoverian king by a Saxon composer, by then recently become a British citizen, performed by a French ensemble in a Roman...

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Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, Academy of Ancient Music, Milton Court review - radiant and full of life

Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno is the opposite of a jukebox musical. So fertile, so overflowing was the 22-year-old Handel’s musical imagination, that his very first oratorio, composed during his time in Rome, would become a chest full of...

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