LHF Opera Studio

London Handel Festival - LHF Opera Studio

In 2023, London Handel Festival (LHF) launched a brand new opera studio. The LHF Opera Studio is an exciting initiative enabling LHF to become a powerhouse of Handel’s operatic repertoire, radically redefining how Baroque opera is performed and perceived in the 21st century by making Handel’s music more widely accessible to a variety of performers, audiences and surprising venues.

LHF has a long tradition of producing world-class opera in partnership with other organisations however, this next stage of development sees LHF continue its growth by producing its own innovative and fresh interpretations of Handel’s rarely heard dramatic works.

The 2023 London Handel Festival premiered the rave production of In The Realms of Sorrow directed by Adele Thomas and each year, LHF will produce one opera as part of the flagship spring Festival.

Our casts and creative teams will be drawn from the very best talent in the UK and part of the LHFOS mission will be to support talent from outside London, unearthing the next generation of talent and providing them with a vital platform to develop.

Handel’s operas are some of the most widely produced compositions in the UK and in order to differentiate from other companies and opera houses, LHFOS will put innovation and collaboration at the core of each production. Unable to match the resource of large houses such as the Royal Opera House, Opera North, English National Opera or Glyndebourne, London Handel Festival Opera Studio’s ambition is to be the leading light in new interpretations of rarely performed works focusing on engaging and intimate performances in unique venues.

2024 Production

Handel Opera Studio presents: Aci by the River 

Aci, Galatea e Polifemo HWV 72 

Building on the success of the critically acclaimed production of In the Realms of Sorrow, this year the Handel Opera Studio presents Aci by the River, a brand new Handel experience which centres on a new production of the early dramatic work Aci, Galatea e Polifemo. Aci, by the River takes place on the banks of the River Thames in the evocative and visually stunning Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse. 

Composed during a trip to Naples, Aci, Galatea e Polifemo is one of Handel’s most emotive and daring works. An ancient Greek tale which  portrays the intensity of young love and how it collides with a world which wants to control and destroy it, leading to tragic and heartbreaking consequences. Aci, by the River follows a tradition from Handel’s time where performances were preceded by other forms of entertainment

Critically acclaimed director Jack Furness makes his LHF debut directing a cast of internationally renowned soloists, coming together with the London Handel Orchestra under the expert musical direction of Laurence Cummings.  

To reach the venue, audiences are invited to be transported from Central London by boat along the Thames. The boat journey will feature intimate live performances.

For audiences who wish to make their own way to the venue, the closest tube station is Canning Town (Jubilee Line) and from there you will be guided to the venue via a small set of pop-up performances. 

Dates and times:

April 10th: 7.30pm 

April 11th: 7.30pm

April 12th: 7.30pm

April 13th: 2.30pm (matinee)

Venue: Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse and Chain Store

Tickets: £20 – £85 (on sale to the general public from Monday 27 November) 

Length: 2hrs  (2.5hrs including boat trip) 

Performers & Creatives

Aci Mary Bevan

Galatea Claudia Huckle 

Polifemo Callum Thorpe 

Conductor Laurence Cummings 

Director Jack Furness 

Designer Francis O’Connor 

Movement Director: Rachel Wise

 London Handel Orchestra led by Adrian Butterfield

In The Realms of Sorrow 2023

Described as a ferocious and fearless start to the London Handel Festival (The Guardian), reuniting award-winning director Adele Thomas and LHF Music Director Laurence Cummings, In the Realms of Sorrow was rare opportunity to see staged performances of four of Handel’s most soul-searching cantatas.

Fusing exquisite singing and dance theatre, In the Realms of Sorrow was a fascinating insight into young Handel’s early capacity for depicting the complexity of the human soul. Seen together, the four cantatas create a raw and alluring journey into love, obsession, delusion and ecstasy ‘Handel brought to life’ (★ The Times)

Featuring brand new music by acclaimed composer Héloïse Werner. In the Realms of Sorrow was no doubt one of the most extraordinary events the London Handel Festival has ever staged, performed at the atmospheric Stone Nest.