Recap 2023

Hercules HWV 60


Andreas Wolf © Javier del Real
7:00 pm | May 18th, 2023 | ~ 3,5 h
St. Johannis-Kirche

Inspired by one of the greatest Greek myths, Handel's Hercules will be presented in concert version. George Petrou will lead an all star cast, featuring the great mezzo Vivica Genaux in one of Handel's greatest female roles and the excellent NDR vocal ensemble, a steady collaborator of the Göttingen International Handel Festival.

“Where shall I fly? O fatal error of misguided love!” curses Dejanira after realizing that she has inadvertently killed her Hercules. Whether Handel in the spring of 1745 shared similar feelings with his female protagonist? In any case, the love for Hercules had also driven him to the edge of the abyss: the oratorio proved to be the biggest flop of his career.

And yet, in Dejanira, he had created one of the most intriguing characters in the history of opera. His work tells the story of a deeply sensitive wife, but one tormented by jealousy, who out of fear of being abandoned becomes a murderer. The struggles in her heart, her hoping, raging, loving, doubting, were musically captured by Handel through his masterful writing. Yet audiences weren't turning up.

Too gloomy was the story for an entertaining evening at the opera, too little splendour and glory for an oratorio. Handel threw in the towel and ended the season prematurely: “I must now conclude, to my regret, that my endeavours to please no longer produce results, while my expenses escalate considerably.”
Fortunately, the financial drama faced by Handel's company had a happy ending: a large number of subscribers waived reimbursement of their funds out of solidarity, so that Handel was able to resume oratorio plans the following year – this time successfully: Judas Maccabaeus was to become one of his most triumphant successes.

Futher performance:

22.5. | 7 pm

Tickets via the Elbphilharmonie

Pre-performance talk (en.)
18.5. | 6 pm
Prof. Donald Burrows

Admission free with valid ticket

Andreas Wolf Bass-baritone | Hercules

Vivica Genaux Mezzo-soprano | Dejanira

Anna Dennis Soprano | Iole

Nick Pritchard Tenor | Hyllus

Lena Sutor-Wernich Mezzo-soprano | Lichas

NDR Vokalensemble
Klaas-Jan de Groot Chorus Master

FestspielOrchester Göttingen

George Petrou Musical Director

Back (2023)

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