Four weeks of concerts, talks, walks & film screenings explore masterpieces by Handel, from semi-staged operas to grand oratorio and lunchtime recitals, 17 March-16 April 2018
Celebrating the 300th anniversary of its first performance, Laurence Cummings, musical director of the London Handel Festival, conducts an imaginative staging of Handel’s opera Acis and Galatea (19 & 21 March)
Mr Handel's Scholars, gathers star alumni of the Handel Singing Competition, including 2017 finalists Maria Ostroukhova and Nathan Vale, joining Anna Devin and Derek Welton, with the London Handel Orchestra (23 March)
The annual sell-out performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion returns with Laurence Cummings and London Handel Orchestra (30 March)
In its 16th year, the Handel Singing Competition will feature a showcase concert (20 March) with 2017 winners Marcjanna Myrlak and Jungkwon Jang, before reaching the Semi-Finals (28 March) and Finals (10 April)
A rare chance to experience two operas from Handel’s early career in London, Amadigi di Gaula with Opera Settecento (24 March) and Teseo with La Nuova Musica, under the baton of David Bates, showcasing exceptional talent from students of the Royal Academy Opera programme at the Royal Academy of Music (12 & 14 April)
Early Opera Company, conducted by Christian Curnyn, makes its Festival debut with a concert performance of Giulio Cesare with an all-star cast including three past finalists of the Handel Singing Competition (11 April)
Ruby Hughes, 2009 winner of the Handel Singing Competition, returns to explore works sung by Giulia Frasi, one of Handel’s favourite sopranos (7 April)
Bridget Cunningham directs an expert team of soloists, including Greg Tassell and Benjamin Bevan in a programme exploring the music Georgian audiences would have heard at the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens (4 April)
The Judgement of Paris by Thomas Arne, with excerpts from Semele, directed by John Andrews, with the Brook Street Band and soloists including Soraya Mafi, Ed Lyon, Anthony Gregory, Susanna Fairbairn and Gillian Ramm (6 April)
Musical Walks include Bloomsbury philanthropists, inventors and eccentrics (18 March); Clerkenwell’s coffee houses, coal and the Clerk’s well (25 March); 1,000 years of destruction, conservation and restoration in 1 hour! (11 April) and Churches, squares, artists, doctors and musicians in Georgian society (13 April).
Special talks by experts on Handel's investments at the Bank of England Museum (Ellen T.Harris, 26 March) and Handel's health at the Royal Society of Medicine (Charles Bonney, 9 April)
Samir Savant, Festival Director of the London Handel Festival, today announced the programme for its 2018 Festival which takes “Handel in London” as its theme – a four-week celebration of the life and work of Handel, in particular his life as a European who settled in Georgian London, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
This year, the Festival explores Handel’s particular relationship with the capital, his broad and varied musical output in the city he chose to settle in and his broader life in Georgian society. In addition to all the concerts planned, this year’s Festival expands the range of events on offer and presents walks, talks and a film screening focusing on many aspects of Handel’s life beyond his music, such as his expertise in investing and his relationship with health and medicine.
While continuing to present concerts at Handel’s parish church, St George’s, Hanover Square, the Festival expands with events at Wigmore Hall, Foundling Museum, Handel & Hendrix in London, the Charterhouse, as well as St Lawrence's Church, Little Stanmore. The stunning Grade II listed Fitzrovia Hospital Chapel is a new venue for the Festival.
The Festival continues in its ambition to nurture young talent and explore lesser-known repertoire. The internationally acclaimed Handel Singing Competition is in its 16th year, and this year’s Festival features no fewer than 20 past finalists as soloists on various dates.
Samir Savant, Festival Director, said “I am delighted to present ‘Handel in London’ – our 2018 London Handel Festival. We are packing more than ever into just one month with a wonderful array of performances, ranging from grand opera to intimate chamber recitals, in addition to special walks and talks to highlight Handel’s special relationship with Georgian London. Handel has a valuable message for us today – he was a European immigrant who chose London as his home, and, quite apart from his glorious music, his cosmopolitan tastes and unstoppable commercial energy, and his professed love of his adopted society through his philanthropy, resonate still in our diverse and vibrant capital city.”
Laurence Cummings continues his role as Musical Director of the London Handel Festival. As one of the world’s leading conductors, he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the repertoire, which, combined with his dedication to nurturing young singers, ensures that the Festival remains as distinctive and engaging as ever.
The 2018 London Handel Festival opens with the Foundling Hospital Anthem, written by Handel to raise money for the orphan “foundlings” abandoned on the streets of Georgian London (18 March).
The 2018 London Handel Festival celebrates the 300th anniversary of the very first performance of Acis and Galatea, with a colourful staging of Handel’s popular pastoral opera, taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses (19 & 21 March).
Amadigi di Gaula, a Good and Evil tale of love, jealousy, betrayal and sorcery, is performed by 2017 Handel Singing Competition winner Maria Ostroukhova and features Michal Czerniawski, Erica Eloff and Ilona Revolskaya (24 March).
Other highlights of this year’s festival include Giulio Cesare, performed by Tim Mead and Anna Devin in the lead roles. Early Opera Company makes its London Handel Festival debut under the baton of Christian Curnyn (11 April). La Nuova Musica, conducted by David Bates will present Teseo, an intriguing work written in five acts in the French tradition, featuring young singers from Royal Academy Opera (12 and 14 April).
2018 marks the 16th anniversary of the Handel Singing Competition which has given now established artists and past finalists such as Iestyn Davies, Ruby Hughes and Lucy Crowe valuable exposure and recognition. The London Handel Festival has always had the nurturing of young talent at the centre of its artistic policy and a 2017 Finalists Recital at the Fitzrovia Hospital Chapel (20 March) and ‘Mr Handel’s Scholars’ concert with Laurence Cummings and the London Handel Orchestra (23 March) will celebrate the Competition’s legacy. The Semi-Final and Final of the 2018 Handel Singing Competition will take place on 28 March and 10 April.
Alongside all its innovations, the 2018 edition of the London Handel Festival will present its well-loved landmarks. The annual sell-out performance of Bach's St Matthew Passion on Good Friday returns with previous competition finalists George Humphreys and Nathan Vale, and the annual visit to Wigmore Hall will see Adrian Butterfield direct Esther (22 March, returns only).
A special performance of Handel’s Water Music, directed by Walter Reiter, performed for schools by students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music & Dance is designed to encourage children to gain an understanding of Handel and his life and works (29 March).