Handel’s La Resurezzione, at the Barbican tonight

Handel’s La Resurezzione, at London’s Barbican tonight, was a two hour delight: exquisite, uplifting, life-affirming.

The star was Handel himself. He wrote this masterwork, only his second oratorio, in 1708, at the age of 22. It’s a lyrical, driving, compelling work, packed with engaging leitmotifs and stunning melodic runs.

Tonight’s other star was conductress Emmanuelle Haim and her fabulous chamber orchestra, Le Concert d’Astree. They were equal to the task of interpreting such great music. But, then, they always are.

The quintet of vocalists was most commanding when singing as a choir at the end of both parts. In the arias, bass Lorenzo Regazzo (Lucifer) and soprano Kate Royal (Magdalene) were magnificent.

Tonight’s Handel was the first of a trio of sacred music gigs for Easter that I’ll be attending. To come: Bach’s St Matthew Passion on Sunday, followed by St John Passion next Wednesday. Not bad for an atheist!

Rave on those Baroque master musos!

Gerry Smith


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