mon 16/12/2019

Handel

Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Agnew, Barbican review – splendid Baroque knees-up

“How many times have you heard the conductor sing?” asked William Christie after the final number, but before the two encores, of Sunday night’s 40th birthday celebration for his ensemble Les Arts Florissants. Well, lovers of old recordings know...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Donnacha Dennehy, Handel, Strauss

 Donnacha Dennehy: The Hunger Alarm Will Sound/Alan Pierson, with Katherine Manley and Iarla Ó Lionáird (Nonesuch)The Great Irish Famine of 1845-1852 resulted in the deaths of one million Irish citizens to starvation and prompted a further...

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Brockes-Passion, Arcangelo, Cohen, Wigmore Hall review – hybrid Handel

Handel’s Brockes-Passion is a curious piece - sacred but not liturgical, and with a strong influence from opera, though it is a concert work. Solo voices predominate, and the singers assembled at Wigmore Hall were mostly fine. Jonathan Cohen and his...

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Agrippina, Royal Opera review - carry on up the Campidoglio

It was said of the Venetian audiences randy for the satirical antique of Handel's first great operatic cornucopia in 1709 that "a stranger who should have seen the manner in which they were affected, would have imagined they were all distracted"....

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Prom 55: Jephtha, SCO & Chorus, Egarr review - shock of the new in sacrificial oratorio

Human sacrifice has a disconcerting and wonderful effect upon great composers, above all when it involves the supremely queasy issue of a father vowing to offer up his child: think of Britten with Abraham and Isaac, Mozart with Idomeneo and Idamante...

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Belshazzar, The Grange Festival review – songs of freedom

Cut almost anywhere into the lesser-known seams of Handel’s oratorios and you may strike plentiful nuggets of the purest gold. It may not be quite the case that Handel's Belshazzar, its score studded with nearly-forgotten musical treasures, has...

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Agrippina, Barbican review - over-the-top comic brilliance

Flirtations and fragile alliances, lies, betrayals, schemes and the ever-present promise of sex – Love Island may be back on our screens next week, but it has nothing on Handel's Agrippina. Imperial Rome is the backdrop for one of the composer’...

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Semele, Monteverdi Choir, EBS, Gardiner, Alexandra Palace review - Handel's cornucopia lavishly served

Louise Alder, lyric soprano of the moment and vivacity incarnate, had yet to be born when John Eliot Gardiner made his first recording of Handel's Semele with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in 1981. Now they all come together to...

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Brockes-Passion, AAM, Egarr, Barbican review - fleshly Handel for our earthbound times

Whips, scourges, sinews, blood and pus: where Bach’s two Passions lament from a contemplative distance, Handel’s plunges right to the bone, to the cruel, tortured death that is the heart of the Easter story.Perhaps that explains the work’s recent...

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Franco Fagioli, Il Pomo d’Oro, Birmingham Town Hall review - flair and flamboyance

For the final, and only UK, date of his Vinci Arias tour, virtuoso countertenor Franco Fagioli gave an animated and arresting recital of baroque arias at Birmingham Town Hall on Sunday afternoon with the Italian period instrument group Il pomo d’oro...

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Berenice, Royal Opera/London Handel Festival review - luminous shenanigans in the Linbury

It might be the nature of Handel's operatic beasts, but performances tend to fall into two camps: brilliant in the fusion of drama and virtuosity, singing and playing, or boring to various degrees. If this handsome opening gambit in the 2019 London...

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In the spirit of the composer as innovator: Samir Savant on the London Handel Festival

This is my third year as festival director of the London Handel Festival, an annual celebration of the life and work of composer George Frideric Handel, which takes place every spring in venues across the capital. Our core charitable and artistic...

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