The 2019 Festival takes ‘Handel’s Divas’ as its theme and will explore the lives of the famous female singers, the ‘divas’ of their day, who were associated with Handel and for whom he wrote many of his most famous roles. We pay tribute to the women who inspired and gave life to Handel’s music, and were amazing role models in their day, attracting devoted fans and huge fame, but often with complicated personal stories behind their public acclaim. They captured the popular imagination in their day and occasionally caused riots amongst their rival supporters, filling the gossip pages of newspapers at the time! We have included in our programmes biographical information about the ten divas Handel worked with most closely, all of whom are represented at various performances during the Festival.
Highlights of this year’s festival include our debut at the Royal Opera House with Berenice, which has not been heard there since Handel presented it in 1737; and performances of the rarely heard oratorio Athalia and serenata Aci, Galatea e Polifemo. We welcome for the first time Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu from Lyon with a ravishing programme of Handel and Porpora, and Festival Voices with their surprising remix of Dixit Dominus. We welcome back Opera Settecento with Venceslao and London Early Opera and Early Opera Company who both present programmes focused on specific Handelian divas.
These performances sit alongside the usual packed calendar of intimate chamber music recitals, lunchtime concerts, guided walks and the annual international Handel Singing Competition, now in its 18th year. This year we had over 170 singers apply from some 25 countries, so the Final will definitely be an exciting event. Back by popular demand is our ‘Come and Sing’ event, a wonderful opportunity to perform Messiah excerpts with Laurence Cummings, our Musical Director.
Download a copy of the 2019 London Handel Festival brochure. Public booking for all events is now open, but for events at Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square and the Royal Opera House, tickets should be booked directly through each venue’s own Box Office (please see individual events for further details).
We are a small arts organisation, with big ambition, and our aim is to bring the glory of Handel’s music to larger audiences. Please encourage your music-loving friends to come to the 2019 Festival, and we do hope you might consider joining as a Handel Supporter; ticket sales cover less than 40% of our costs, and we therefore rely on your generosity for our continued success. If you would like to join as a Friend or Handel Supporter or would like to check the status of your membership or to renew please click here.
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We look forward to welcoming you to the Festival in 2019!