Harry Bicket and The English Concert to Perform Handel's THEODORA at Carnegie Hall, 2/2
On Sunday, February 2, at 2:00 p.m., Harry Bicket conducts Handel's oratorio, Theodora, in concert at Carnegie Hall with acclaimed baroque orchestra The English Concert. In this concert production of Handel's second-to-last oratorio, celebrated countertenor David Daniels performs the role of Didymus opposite soprano Dorothea Röschmann (Theodora), leading a renowned cast including mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly (Irene), tenor Andrew Kennedy (Septimus), and bass-baritone Neal Davies (Valens), and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street led by Music Director Julian Wachner. Benjamin Sosland of The Juilliard School leads a pre-concert talk at 1:00 p.m. This concert marks the second year of multi-year Handel project by Harry Bicket, The English Concert and Carnegie Hall, following last February's Radimisto in which David Daniels sang the title role.
Featuring a libretto adapted from Robert Boyle's 1667 novel The Martyrdom of Theodora and of Didymus, Handel's oratorio, Theodora, which premiered at London's Covent Garden in 1750, tells the tragic story of Christian martyrs, Theodora, a virgin princess, and her selfless admirer, Didymus, a Christian-converted Roman imperial bodyguard, who died in Antioch in 304 A.D. The composer's favorite of the 16 oratorios he created, the piece is a work of great originality, subtlety, and musical depth, displaying Handel's mastery of baroque solo and choral forms, while narrating the couple's story of self-sacrificial love in the face of religious persecution.
This concert will be aired on WQXR 105.9 FM in New York and on stations nationwide, on March 16th at 7:00 p.m. as part of the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast and digital series. Produced by WQXR, New York City's classical music station, and Carnegie Hall, and presented in partnership with American Public Media, the series is hosted by WQXR's Jeff Spurgeon and APM's Fred Child, and will be available for streaming on wqxr.org and carnegiehall.org/wqxr. Select concerts will be archived for on-demand streaming post-broadcast. During each broadcast, WQXR and Carnegie Hall will host live chats featuring behind-the-scenes insights by the broadcast team, color commentary by the hosts, and interaction with the broadcast / webcast listeners, connecting national and international fans to the music and to each other.
Internationally renowned as an opera and concert conductor of distinction, Harry Bicket is especially noted for his interpretation of baroque and classical repertoire. He became artistic director of The English Concert in 2007. Highlights of recent seasons include guest conducting with Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, as well as critically-acclaimed opera productions for the Chicago Lyric Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, Minnesota Opera, Theater an der Wien, and Atlanta Opera. Mr. Bicket has appeared at major US festivals such as Glimmerglass, Spoleto, Aspen, and Santa Fe. His discography includes releases with Ian Bostridge, David Daniels, Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, a Handel duets disc with Sarah Connolly and Rosemary Joshua, and Bach arias and cantatas with Elizabeth Watts and The English Concert. This season, Mr. Bicket conducts operas at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Canadian Opera Company, and Santa Fe Opera. In addition to this concert at Carnegie Hall, extensive commitments with The English Concert in the current season include concert performances of Handel's Theodora at the Barbican and Theatre de Champs Elysées, as well as Wigmore Hall performances featuring Sally Matthews and Lucy Crowe.
The 2013-2014 season marks the 40th anniversary of The English Concert. Created by Trevor Pinnock in 1973, the ensemble chose Harry Bicket to be its artistic director in 2007, and he has since led the orchestra in tours to Europe, the US, and the Middle and Far East. The English Concert has collaborated in performance and on record with such artists as Ian Bostridge, Vesselina Kasarova, David Daniels, Mark Padmore, Carolyn Sampson, Andreas Scholl, Lucy Crowe, Elizabeth Watts, and Daniele de Niese. Recent highlights include European and US tours with Alice Coote, Sara Mingardo, and Anna Caterina Antonacci, David Daniels, and Andreas Scholl, and the orchestra's first tour to mainland China. The English Concert's discography includes more than 100 recordings with Trevor Pinnock for Deutsche Grammophon Archiv, and a series of critically acclaimed CDs for Harmonia Mundi with violinist Andrew Manze. Their recordings with Harry Bicket-Bach arias with David Daniels, Handel duets with Rosemary Joshua and Sarah Connolly, and Bach arias and cantatas with Elizabeth Watts-have been widely praised. A new recording with music by Handel featuring mezzo-soprano Alice Coote is due for release early in 2014.
Sunday, February 2, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
THE ENGLISH CONCERT
Harry Bicket, Artistic Director
Dorothea Röschmann, Soprano (Theodora)
Sarah Connolly, Mezzo-Soprano (Irene)
David Daniels, Countertenor (Didymus)
Andrew Kennedy, Tenor (Septimius)
Neal Davies, Bass-Baritone (Valens)
The Choir of Trinity Wall Street
Julian Wachner, Director of Music and the Arts