Georg Friedrich Händel
›Solomon‹ – Oratorio for soloists, choir and orchestra
Robin Ticciati Conductor
- Joélle Harvey Soprano (Solomons Gemahlin)
- Robin Johannsen Soprano (Königin von Saba)
- lestyn Davies Countertenor (Solomon)
- Ben Bliss Tenor (Zadok)
- Sam Carl bass baritone (Levit)
- Joo-hoon Shin Tenor (Diener)
Andrea Tortosa Baquero Szenische Einrichtung/Choreographie
Manuel La Casta Ausstattung
Emilio Cordero Licht
Benjamin Goodson Choirmaster
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
About the concert
In the first third of the 18th century, Handel was the most successful opera composer in England – but he was not a composer of English operas; Italian was not only the language of his stage works, but also the opera seria model with its constant alternation of recitatives and arias on which they were based. When changing tastes and some economic miscalculations ended the heyday of Handel the opera composer and impresario, he increasingly turned to the oratorio from the late 1730s onwards. In this genre, mostly material from the Old Testament was presented in English in “concert performances,” as we would say today. Music experts agree that Handel’s music gained in drama and imagery by dispensing with the scene, because the events now had to be brought to life exclusively through instrumental and vocal means.
After ‘The Messiah’, Robin Ticciati and the DSO are bringing an oratorio by Handel to the Philharmonie for the second time with ‘Solomon’. The work, which premiered in 1749, creates a character portrait of the eponymous hero, who is presented as a God-fearing ruler. The framing parts are given an almost symmetrical design by the appearances of two queens – Solomon’s wife and the regent of Sheba. In the middle act, the famous story is told in which the king, with the “wisdom of Solomon”, settles the dispute between two women about the motherhood of a child. The scene in which Handel profiles the three characters against each other is one of the highlights of the piece, as is the enchanting conclusion of the first part, when the chorus, surrounded by imitations of birdcalls, leads the royal couple into the night. In the third section, the oratorio reflects itself, as it were, as an artwork of representation: The Queen of Sheba is presented with the cultural diversity of the court in choruses that are stylistically very different from each other. Handel’s oratorio is considered to be a tribute to the English king at the time, George II.
The production is in the hands of Andrea Tortosa Baquero, who, following Britten’s ‘The Rape of Lucretia’ and Walton’s ‘The Bear’, is now working with Robin Ticciati for the third time. Countertenor Iestyn Davies sings the title role. He performs worldwide on major stages such as the Metropolitan Opera, the Bavarian State Opera and La Scala in Milan and has already made several recordings of works by Handel.