thu 18/07/2024

Handel

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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Arminio, Royal Opera review - Handel does Homeland, and it works

Invasion by a colonising power has convulsed a country, dividing families – even individuals – between the rival claims of resistance and collaboration. A captured freedom-fighter from the indigenous elite faces execution; an imperial general hopes...

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Messiah, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Whelan, Wigmore Hall review - wonderful, easy, light and dark in perfect poise

This Palm Sunday served up an epiphany. Previous encounters with Handel's Messiah, in whatever version, and whether listening or performing, turned out to have been through a glass darkly. And here we were face to face with undiluted genius, served...

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Williams, Dunedin Consort, Truscott, Wigmore Hall review - star soprano, total teamwork

When your special guest is a young soprano with all the world before her, the total artist already, your programme might seem to run itself. Yet the Dunedin Consort’s sequence seen and heard in Glasgow, Edinburgh and (last night) London followed a...

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Theodora, Arcangelo, Cohen, Barbican review - gloriously dark and sober

Handel’s Theodora – voluptuously beautiful, warm-to-the-touch music, yoked to a libretto of chilly piety about Christian martyrdom in 4th-century Rome. It’s a red rag to directors, and there’s a relief to seeing the oratorio in the concert hall,...

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In The Realms of Sorrow, London Handel Festival, Stone Nest review - disappointed love has all the best tunes

Raw, muscular, visceral, haunting – this was Handel as you’ve never experienced him before. In this striking entry for the London Handel Festival,  an uncompromising production by Adele Thomas with conductor Laurence Cummings took four of the...

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First Person: conductor Harry Bicket on filming the complete Handel for The English Concert's big new project

Of the many questions we asked ourselves during lockdown, I suspect that many of us looked at our lives and professions and asked, “Why?”.Perhaps a period of forced introspection is a positive thing if it helps clarify what is truly important and...

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Giulio Cesare, English Touring Opera review - a return visit to Handel's Egypt

English Touring Opera opened its spring season with Handel's Giulio Cesare – not a new production, but in a new guise. Typically for Baroque opera, the version of the work premiered in 1724 was very long. ETO previously took up the challenge by...

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Kristian Bezuidenhout, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Wigmore Hall review - fires of London

A dream pairing of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and early-keyboard wizard Kristian Bezuidenhout marked St Cecilia’s Day at the Wigmore Hall with a programme that celebrated music made not in the Black Forest but beside the Thames.Both halves of...

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Alcina, Royal Opera review - sharp stage magic, mist over the pit

Handel’s audiences must have taken a very long time to settle – at least an act, to judge from the mostly inconsequential music of Alcina’s first hour. Lovely: we’re on an enchanted isle where puritanical people have been transformed into animal-...

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