Complete oratorio, concert performance
Completed in the summer of 1748 and premiered the following season at London’s Covent Garden, Handel’s Solomon is one of his grandest oratorios. Across its three acts, it presents three depictions of the munificent and wise King Solomon.
The opening act sees Solomon and his queen as the lovers of the famed Song of Songs, while in the second Solomon intercedes to resolve a dispute between two women, who each claim that a baby is their own. In the third, Solomon’s court is visited by the Queen of Sheba, with the famous Arrival of the Queen of Sheba acting as the prelude to the lavish masque staged in her honour. Handel’s music portrays the different sides of Solomon, one of the Bible’s — and history’s — most complex characters.
Under the direction of The English Concert’s Artistic Director Harry Bicket, the performances feature some of the world’s pre-eminent Handelian singers. Solomon is sung by Swedish mezzo-soprano Ann Hallenberg, while Christina Gansch and Elena Villalón will perform the virtuoso soprano parts of the two queens.
With an expanded orchestra and lavish choruses for double choir, Solomon is a rousing celebration of the ideals of monarchy, and the peace and prosperity afforded by benevolent kingship.
‘The English Concert, a superb period instrument orchestra whose annual spring visit . . . is a must for Handel-lovers . . .’
New York Times