Athalia HWV 52
Generously supported by the Kathleen Hannay Memorial Charity.
Anna Devin Athalia, Queen of Judah
Grace Davidson Josabeth, Wife of Joad
Rupert Enticknap Joad, High Priest
Anthony Gregory Mathan, Priest of Baal tenor
Christian Immler Abner, Captain of the Jewish Forces
Treble from Westminster Abbey Joas, King of Judah
Laurence Cummings conductor
London Handel Orchestra
London Handel Singers
Like his Esther of the previous year (and performed in the 2018 Festival), Handel’s third English oratorio is based on a powerful choral play by Racine. Athalia dramatises the Old Testament story of the true prince miraculously saved from annihilation and spectacularly revealed to the wicked queen Athalia, eclipsing her tyranny and apostasy and asserting the kingship line which is to lead to the Messiah.
To newly flexible and thrilling effect, Handel integrates his genius for convincing character portrayal and his mastery of varied chorus writing. Exciting fluctuations of emotions and contrasts of textures, a grippingly suspenseful plot, characteristically rich and sensitive orchestration, and a cast of individuals sharply delineated and differentiated – from an innocent six-year-old to a termagant grandmother – make Athalia (in the words of Handel authority Winton Dean) truly ‘the first great English dramatic oratorio’.
Pre-performance talk by Ruth Smith (free admission with concert ticket) from 6.15 – 7pm
Please note that booking for this performance should be made directly through the St John’s Smith Square Box Office. Public booking for this event will open from 28 January. Please call 020 7222 1061 or click here.