Deborah HWV 51
A woman who can envision the future. A female judge who builds a career among men. A saviour who liberates her people. Deborah is one of the most impressive female figures in the Bible – and George Frideric Handel tells her story in the oratorio of the same name. In Göttingen, the concert will be performed with a special guest: Nicholas McGegan, former Artistic Director of the Handel Festival, will take the podium as conductor.
Oxford, summer of 1733. Handel rounds up one hundred performers to perform Deborah. Radiant trumpets and horns, double woodwinds, and a substantial accompanying foundation consisting of two harpsichords and two organs. It is an attempt to turn the tide – because in fact, he is facing economic ruin.
That it could come to this is due to a circle of uppity aristocrats. For months they have been trying to drive Handel out of London's musical scene. The entire affair culminates in the founding of a new opera company under the direction of Prince Frederick of Wales, the "Opera of Nobility". But there is nothing noble about it: the prince and his illustrious friends campaign against Handel and recruit his soloists from the King's Theatre. Handel's prominent position in London's musical scene is to be destabilized.
And what does Handel do? He comes up with a very unconventional idea. Instead of continuing to write Italian operas, he stakes everything on a new genre he has already tried out before: the English oratorio. The plan works: Handel makes a major profit with the Oxford performance, and the oratorio is performed thirteen times by 1735.
In 1737, Prince Frederick's spook is also over: the "Opera of Nobility" flops. Handel, on the other hand, continues along his oratorio path and, at the latest with the Messiah, manages to make himself immortal. A success story whose magic already begins to unfold in Deborah.
Sherezade Panthaki Soprano | Deborah
Franziska Gottwald Mezzo-soprano | Sisera
Hugh Cutting Countertenor | Barak
Andrew Foster-Williams Bass-Baritone | Abinoam
Amanda Forsythe Soprano | Jael and Israelite Woman
Collegium Vocale Hannover
Capella St. Crucis
Florian Lohmann Chorus Master
Nicholas McGegan Musical Director