All 42 Handel operas in one programme
Göttingen International Handel Festival presents unique anniversary programme
– Press release – Göttingen, February 7, 2020
The programme was already made public last September and advance ticket sales are in full swing. Now the Göttingen International Handel Festival has unveiled the details of its anniversary programme at a public press conference in the presence of prominent guests including the Minister of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony, Björn Thümler. From May 20 to June 1, 2020, the Göttingen International Handel Festival will celebrate its 100th anniversary.
Organisers have compiled within their anniversary programme all 42 opera titles by the baroque composer George Frideric Handel. They will be presented in a wide array of formats: as scenic and concertante productions, crossover and chamber music concerts, as dance arrangements and readings, as Festival film recordings on the cinema screen and on the web.
The Festival opera Rodelinda will be staged in six performances at the Deutsches Theater Göttingen (May 20, 22, 23, 26, 31 and June 1), as an Open Doors Occasion (May 23) and as a Family version (May 30) at the Lokhalle Göttingen.
The industrial monument will serve as the Festival’s largest venue. In this award-winning event hall, the Festival will present five concertante opera performances (May 21, 24, 28, 29 and 30). Major names in the Early Music scene – Bejun Mehta, Sonia Prina, Julia Lezhneva and Diego Fasolis together with the Basel Chamber Orchestra – will open the Festival season in the Lokhalle on May 21 with Alessandro. Ariodante (May 24) with its superb cast and atmospheric lighting design guarantees a feast for both eyes and ears. The programme on the second weekend of the Festival unites three generations of Artistic Directors. Laurence Cummings together with the FestspielOrchester Göttingen and a cast of audience favourites will present Xerxes on May 29. Former Artistic Director Nicholas McGegan returns to the Festival joined by soloists from the Juilliard Opera and Ensemble Juilliard415 for a performance of Rinaldo on May 30. The future Artistic Director George Petrou will make his debut in Göttingen on May 28 with his orchestra Armonia Atenea for a performance of Publio Cornelio Scipione. Three performances of the Festival’s most recent and extensive youth opera project EZIO: Game of Rome (May 26 + 27) will round off the Festival programme in the Lokhalle.
Since 2003, the Festival has been holding a growing number of events in the region of Southern Lower Saxony. Following last year’s sold-out oratorio performance in Hann. Münden, they will now take two scenic opera productions to Einbeck and Osterode am Harz for the first time. A collaboration with the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music and the Handel Festival in Halle has brought about the production of Ottone, which, on May 22, will mark the first time the PS.Halle in Einbeck will be transformed into a music theatre. In Osterode am Harz the Festival will let the marionettes live it up: on May 31, the famous Milan Marionette Company Carlo Colla e Figli and the lautten compagney Berlin present Handel’s Giustino as a puppet theatre piece.
An extensive framework programme with talks, guided tours and lectures rounds off the schedule of Festival events. The Festival lecture by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Sandberger (May 22) and the academic Symposium (May 23) provide a platform for Handel research and musicology and, with free admission, offer the opportunity for academic exchange.
In the anniversary year the Festival will be presenting a total of 120 events, with 40 concerts and opera performances (including the Family version of the opera). More than 700 artists are expected in Göttingen and the region. The total budget for the 2020 Festival amounts to approximately 3 million euros.
In addition to high-profile political and economic representatives as well as sponsors and partners of the Festival, members of the Göttinger Händel-Gesellschaft e. V. and regional cultural institutions were also invited – and a great many turned up. “Several of our invited guests are long-standing friends and supporters of the Festival and some have contributed to the Festival’s success in their capacity as artists themselves. We are turning 100, and of course we would like to celebrate this with everyone”, explains Managing Director Tobias Wolff as the reason for the decision to make the press conference public.
Public advance ticket sales is already underway. Tickets are available at www.haendel-festspiele.de and in Göttingen at the GT Ticket-Service on Wiesenstraße 1, the Tourist Information Office Göttingen at Markt 8 and the Deutsches Theater Göttingen at Theaterplatz 11. Tickets can also be purchased at all CTS Eventim ticket offices in Germany (ticket hotline: 01806-57 00 70, 0.20 €/min. from a German landline).
Graphic by Heinrich Kreyenberg; Photos by Alciro Theodoro da Silva