Welcome to the 2017 Festival

New competition and the long-awaited return of a Festival audience's darling

On 31st October 1517, Martin Luther made public his famous 95 theses – and changed the world. 200 years later, George Frideric Handel lived in what was still an environment of religious tension, yet he himself largely steered clear of dogmatism: he wrote music for Lutherans, Pietists, Catholics and Anglicans. Taking the thematic heading ‘Faith and doubt’, the Göttingen International Handel Festival was addressing the Reformation anniversary. Sacred music such as Handel’s Brockes Passion and Israel in Egypt, the oratorio Luther in Worms by Ludwig Meinardus, and a programme by the ensemble Concerto Romano, with compositions by Handel and his Italian contemporaries for the Catholic Church, constituted a special focus in the programmes of the Festival and the Symposium “‘Wo deine Wunder-Flöthe klinget’. Barthold Heinrich Brockes und die Musik”.

But we raised questions that extend far beyond historical or confessional discussions: What do we believe? What convictions, principles and values are important to us? At the same time, the Festival lived up to its reputation as the one and only opera festival in Lower Saxony: no fewer than three staged or semi-staged music theatre productions were on the agenda, Handel’s Lotario and Lucio Cornelio Silla, and Joseph Haydn’s L’anima del filosofo ossia Orfeo ed Euridice.

Together with the ‘boat people projekt’ and further cooperation partners, the Festival picked up where it left off following the success of Young Amadigi and FamilienBande: Faramondo in the youth opera project Beyond Doubt: Lotario. Once again, in addition to Echo Classic prizewinners Simone Kermes, Avi Avital, Andreas Staier and Dorothee Oberlinger, who makes her debut as opera conductor in Lucio Cornelio Silla, a host of international stars and many other exciting artists were our guests. After six years of absence, audience favourite Dominique Labelle returned to Göttingen with a festive gala concert. In the Festival’s first foray into the heavy metal domain, the four cellists of Cell of Hell made an audacious Festival appearance with a crossover programme. The competition Göttinger Historical Music Series was presented in a new structure and took place over one Festival weekend as the göttingen händel competition. And of course, there were once again wonderful new concert venues to discover in Grone, Gieboldehausen, Scharzfeld … An exciting Festival it was. Be in no doubt!