Thursday, 16 March 2017

Looking ahead: Faith and Doubt at Göttingen International Handel Festival

Gottingen Festival - Faith and Doubt
This year's Göttingen International Handel Festival has the theme of Faith and Doubt, inspired by the celebrations this year for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, with performances of two of Handel's rarer operas, Lotario and Silla, alongside his Brockes Passion and Israel in Egypt (in a rare performance of the original three-part version).

The festival which runs from 11 to 28 May, 2017, in the town in Lower Saxony, Germany, is under the artistic directorship of Laurence Cummings, who is also musical director of the London Handel Festival. London audiences will recognise many of the singers, with the opera casts including Marie Lys, Jorge Navarro Colorado and Anna Dennis, not to mention Simone Kermes

Statues of Adelaide and her second spouse Otto I the Great (called Lotario in Handel's opera) at the Meissen Cathedral
Statues of Adelaide and her second spouse Otto I the Great
(called Lotario in Handel's opera) at the Meissen Cathedral
The centre-piece of the festival will be performances of Handel's opera Lotario, director Carlos Wagner, musical director Laurence Cummings. Lotario was one of Handel's first operas to be produced after the collapse of the Royal Academy of Music in the 1728-29 season, and Handel presented the opera in his own season at the King's Theatre in the Haymarket. This will be the first time the opera has been fully staged at Göttingen (it received a semi-staging in 2004), and is part of the festival project to have staged all of Handel's operas by 2020. Marie Lys is the much put-upon Adelaide, with Sophie Rennert as her rescuer Lotario, and Jorge Navarro Colorado as the villainous Berengario, one of Handel's notable rare major tenor roles, In a youth opera project, Beyond Doubt: Lotario, young refugees and Göttingen school pupils will engage with the festival opera.

And Handel's rarely performed opera Silla (Lucio Cornelio Silla) a 1713 work which may have been a one-off piece d'occasion and whose music was recycled into Amadigi di Gaula, will be given a semi staged production with Baroque costumes and historical gesture. It will be Dorothee Oberlinger's first project as an operatic conductor, with a cast including Dmitry Sinkovsky and Anna Dennis. Also in the programme is Haydn's late, unfinished Orfeo ed Euridice with a cast including Simone Kermes.

Sacred music is represented by Handel's rare excursion into kapellmeister territory with the Brockes Passion, and his oratorio Israel in Egypt, as well a concert of Roman Catholic church music by Handel and his Italian contemporaries. Israel in Egypt will be presented in Handel's original three-part version with the familiar two parts preceded by music which Handel recycled from The Ways of Zion do Mourn, the funeral anthem for Queen Caroline.

The poet Barthold Heinrich Brockes, whose work Handel set in the Brockes Passion is the subject of a festival focus with symposium, lecture and late-evening concert all examining his work further.

Full information from the festival website.

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