Belshazzar

Georg Friedrich Händel

ORATORY IN THREE PARTS

Libretto by Charles Jennens


What constitutes legitimate government? To what extent is a head of government permitted to place his own interests at the centre of affairs of state? Can members of different religions ever live and work together peacefully? Handel’s 1745 oratorio Belshazzar continues to ask questions of global relevance today. In mid-18th-century England it was forbidden to show any biblical subjects on the stage. But by the time the mysterious words “Mene, mene, tekel” appear on the palace wall during a riotous feast, words that only the prophet Daniel can interpret, theology and thrilling drama have merged in Handel’s oratorio to form a unity of musical theatre. The French director Marie-Eve Signeyrole stages the fall of Babylon under its infamous ruler Belshazzar. In her production, the Arnold Schoenberg Choir portrays no fewer than three hostile Middle Eastern peoples who are carried by music performed by Christina Pluhar and her ensemble L’Arpeggiata.


In English with surtitles


Introduction to the work 30 minutes before the performance


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