Every year the London Handel Festival celebrates not only his vast and engaging output, but also his practice of encouraging new young performers. Past winners and finalists of the prestigious Handel Singing Competition, now in its 15th year, frequently appear at the festival on their international performing circuit. On 27 March a concert at Cadogan Hall, Mr Handel's Scholars, reunites some, including the soprano Ruby Hughes and the counter-tenor Iestyn Davies.
Highlights of this year's festival include Handel's love triangle opera Faramondo (20-25 March), in the Britten Theatre, Royal College of Music, the finals of this year's competition, at St George's, Hanover Square (4 April), and Opera Settecento's pasticcio opera Ormisda (28 March, St George's, Hanover Square) – called pasticcio because it was made of bits and pieces, like a recipe: Handel never wasted anything...
One of the most-loved works by Handel's contemporary JS Bach, his St Matthew Passion, is sung on Good Friday, 14 April, at Handel's church, St George's, Hanover Square, when festival musical director Laurence Cummings conducts the London Handel Orchestra the choir of St George's and soloists, including George Humphreys (bass) as Christus.
And if all that singing makes you want to join in, you can: at Grosvenor Chapel, Mayfair (18 March) amateur singers can bowl up for a couple of rehearsals and prepare to give a concert that very night, at 6pm. The Coronation Anthems on the bill include Zadok the Priest, sung at every coronation since that of George II – who hurried through Handel's application for British nationality so that he could be his composer of choice.
There are also lunchtime concerts for nearby shoppers and workers, organ recitals and guided walks of all corners of London, with Georgian themes.
All in all, the London Handel Festival is the place to be to catch the hottest performers working in this repertoire – and the rising stars to watch.
Booking opens on 31 January. Click here for more details.
|London Handel Festival 2017
|St George's, Hanover Square, The Vestry, 2A Mill Street, Mayfair, London , W1S 1FX | MAP
|Bond Street (underground)
18 Mar 17 – 24 Apr 17, Times vary, 41 events
|£10 - £45
|Click here for more information and booking