Samir Savant, Festival Director of the London Handel Festival, has announced the programme for its 2018 Festival which takes “Handel in London” as its theme – a four-week celebration of the life and work of Handel, in particular his life as a European who settled in Georgian London, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
This year, the Festival explores Handel’s particular relationship with the capital, his broad and varied musical output in the city he chose to settle in and his broader life in Georgian society. In addition to all the concerts planned, this year’s Festival expands the range of events on offer and presents walks, talks and a film screening focusing on many aspects of Handel’s life beyond his music, such as his expertise in investing and his relationship with health and medicine.
While continuing to present concerts at Handel’s parish church, St George’s, Hanover Square, the Festival expands with events at Wigmore Hall, Foundling Museum, Handel & Hendrix in London, the Charterhouse, as well as St Lawrence’s Church, Little Stanmore. The stunning Grade II listed Fitzrovia Hospital Chapel is a new venue for the Festival.
The Festival continues in its ambition to nurture young talent and explore lesser-known repertoire. The internationally acclaimed Handel Singing Competition is in its 16th year, and this year’s Festival features no fewer than 20 past finalists as soloists on various dates.
Samir Savant, Festival Director, said “I am delighted to present ‘Handel in London’ – our 2018 London Handel Festival. We are packing more than ever into just one month with a wonderful array of performances, ranging from grand opera to intimate chamber recitals, in addition to special walks and talks to highlight Handel’s special relationship with Georgian London. Handel has a valuable message for us today – he was a European immigrant who chose London as his home, and, quite apart from his glorious music, his cosmopolitan tastes and unstoppable commercial energy, and his professed love of his adopted society through his philanthropy, resonate still in our diverse and vibrant capital city.”
Laurence Cummings continues his role as Musical Director of the London Handel Festival. As one of the world’s leading conductors, he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the repertoire, which, combined with his dedication to nurturing young singers, ensures that the Festival remains as distinctive and engaging as ever.
The 2018 London Handel Festival opens with the Foundling Hospital Anthem, written by Handel to raise money for the orphan “foundlings” abandoned on the streets of Georgian London (18 March).
The 2018 London Handel Festival celebrates the 300th anniversary of the very first performance of Acis and Galatea, with a colourful staging of Handel’s popular pastoral opera, taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses (19 & 21 March).
Amadigi di Gaula, a Good and Evil tale of love, jealousy, betrayal and sorcery, is performed by 2017 Handel Singing Competition winner Maria Ostroukhovaand features Michal Czerniawski, Erica Eloff and Ilona Revolskaya (24 March).
Other highlights of this year’s festival include Giulio Cesare, performed by Tim Mead and Anna Devin in the lead roles. Early Opera Company makes its London Handel Festival debut under the baton of Christian Curnyn (11 April). La Nuova Musica, conducted by David Bates will present Teseo, an intriguing work written in five acts in the French tradition, featuring young singers from Royal Academy Opera (12 and 14 April).
2018 marks the 16th anniversary of the Handel Singing Competition which has given now established artists and past finalists such as Iestyn Davies, Ruby Hughes and Lucy Crowe valuable exposure and recognition. The London Handel Festival has always had the nurturing of young talent at the centre of its artistic policy and a 2017 Finalists Recital at the Fitzrovia Hospital Chapel (20 March) and ‘Mr Handel’s Scholars’ concert with Laurence Cummings and the London Handel Orchestra (23 March) will celebrate the Competition’s legacy. The Semi-Final and Final of the 2018 Handel Singing Competition will take place on 28 March and 10 April.