George Frideric Handel
A twilight masterpiece and one of Handel's most moving works, illuminated by exceptional singers.
Lisette Oropesa | Theodora
Joyce DiDonato | Irene
Michael Spyres | Septimius
John Chest | Valens
Paul-Antoine Bénos-Djian | Didymus
Maxim Emelyanychev | direction
Orchestre et chœur Il Pomo d'Oro
Sung in English, with French and English subtitles
Handel's penultimate work and the only one of his oratorios based on a Christian subject, Theodora is not only a testamentary page but also a sublime plea for tolerance. In 1749, the musician was 64 years old. His success in opera seria was already long gone, and for ten years he had been turning to the oratorio form. With a dramatic intensity worthy of the greatest tragedies, the work exalts the martyrdom of a chaste Christian woman persecuted by the Romans at the beginning of the present era. Handel himself considered Theodora to be his favourite oratorio and reserved some of his most beautiful pages for it (the martyr's aria 'With Darkness Deep', those of Irene and the final duet in Act III). The score summons all the colours and musical nuances to exalt virtue and faith. With the choruses, which here are stupefyingly emotional, the composer alternates majestic pages illustrating the violence of the Romans against the compassion of the Christians. To accompany this twilight masterpiece, the immense Joyce DiDonato and the young Lisette Oropesa and Lucile Richardot will compete with talent under the elegant baton of Maxim Emelyanychev.
PRODUCTION Théâtre des Champs-Elysées