Handel's Hercules

The English Concert tours not one but two concert versions of Handel's operas throughout Europe this season. In addition to the fantastical Alcina, the heroic Hercules is on the bill. Harry Bicket has conducted critically acclaimed productions of Handel's timeless and poignant tragedy in Chicago and Toronto. Here he directs an all-star cast of English singers led by bass-baritone Matthew Rose in the title role.

The Cast:

The English Concert
Choir of The English Concert
Harry Bicket director/harpsichord
Matthew Rose Hercules
Alice Coote Dejanira
Elizabeth Watts Iole
Rupert Enticknap Lichas


"vividly supported by the orchestra under Harry Bicket, who offered brilliantly virtuosic and dramatically engaged accompaniment throughout." - The Telegraph, 2015

"Harry Bicket lashed his English Concert to fury, but paced the entire performance faultlessly." - The Evening Standard, 2015

"This Barbican concert performance under Harry Bicket nevertheless made an outstanding case for the work’s dramatic qualities, which were vividly underlined by both cast and conductor."

"The choir and orchestra of The English Concert were on impeccable form under Bicket, with high-definition articulation and tonal quality underlying everything they did" - The Guardian, 2015

"Harry Bicket and the English Concert brought fleet tempos and gutsy articulation to this zinging score and the ensemble’s choir impressively belted out the zesty choral numbers — some of Handel’s best." - The Times, 2015

"...Bickett and the orchestra matched every nuance of ‘Where shall I fly?’, the playing of continuo cellist Joseph Crouch unfailingly intelligent and expressive." - Spectator, 2015

"In this performance from The English Concert, directed by Harry Bicket, the sheer extent to which the characters do not move in straight lines was revealed by the superb cast." - Music OMH, 2015

"Hercules is a long haul but Bicket and his ensemble - sounding elegant and refined but deliciously teasing at times - kept energy levels high over the course of three hours." - Financial Times, 2015

"But that's not to say that drama is entirely absent; far from it, when it is performed with the commitment of director Harry Bicket, a stellar cast of energetic soloists and the pungent playing and singing of The English Concert orchestra and choir." - The Observer, 2015

"The English Concert under Harry Bicket played stylishly, with crisp string playing in the overture and a frothy lightness in the fugal second section" - Opera Britannia, 2015

"All the elements of Handel’s overlooked masterpiece were marvellously served here." - Classical Source, 2015

"The English Concert played beautifully throughout the evening, with glowing tone and expert phrasing from Harry Bicket, who conducted with his characteristic natural feel and forensic precision." - Bachtrack, 2015