Handel's Israel in Egypt
Thursday 24 March 2022, 19:30 - 21:30
venue to be announced
ticket prices to be announced
In 1739, Handel’s large-scale oratorio Israel in Egypt opened London’s doors to an entirely new type of entertainment – a sea-change from the Italian opera which was increasingly seen to tell tales of meagre morals in a language that was hard to understand. And those showy stagings made tickets so expensive!
Handel switched to solid Bible stories, performed in plain English, with fewer soloists and no distracting decor. Instead he moved the choir into the spotlight and used it to portray a plethora of protagonists in a myriad musical colours. There are still a few brilliant arias and duets, but then, in single or double choir, the people speak out once more, the chorus narrates, intones a battle or sings the sound of the sea…
In multi-coloured voices, Israel in Egypt tells the story of the Israelites’ flight from Egypt. God unleashes successive plagues onto the country until the Pharaoh agrees to let the captive people depart – but the Egyptian ruler soon changes his mind and orders his armies into pursuit. The Israelites find their path blocked by the Red Sea which Moses miraculously parts to let them pass. When the Egyptian soldiers attempt the chase, the waters close around them. Joyful choruses erupt as the Israelites celebrate their new-found freedom.
Come and marvel at this pyramid-scale spectacular in Handel’s polychoral palette!