sat 24/08/2019

Handel

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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Classical CDs Weekly: Handel, Schmelzer, Tesla Quartet

 Abbandonata: Handel Italian Cantatas Carolyn Sampson (soprano), The King’s Consort/Robert King (Vivat)The young Handel’s desire to be an opera composer prompted him to spend the years 1706-1710 in Italy. He was already a superb academician and...

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The Triumph of Time and Truth, Higginbottom, Kings Place review – time well spent, despite the words

You can always depend on Handel to turn verbal dross into musical gold. The chasm between lumbering doggerel and soaring sound can seldom have yawned wider, though, that in several numbers from the third, English version of The Triumph of Time and...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Handel, William Howard, Professor Chill

Handel: Works for Keyboard Philippe Grisvard (harpsichord) (Audax)Mention Handel's keyboard output and most folks (including saps like me) will think of his eight imposing Suites… and that's about it. Which is why harpsichordist Philippe Grisvard’s...

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Solomon, Royal Opera review - an awkward compromise of a performance

There was no synopsis in the programme for the Royal Opera’s concert performance of Handel’s Solomon. Maybe that was an oversight, but perhaps it’s simply because there really is no plot to summarise. Handel’s oratorio, set to an anonymous...

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Radamisto, English Touring Opera review - propulsive, lively Handel

Baroque repertoire doesn’t seem to register on most British opera company’s schedules these days, so it is good to see ETO devoting their autumn season to Handel, Purcell and Bach, with some additions from Carissimi and Gesualdo for good measure....

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