LONDON HANDEL FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2023 ‘FORCES OF NATURE’ LINE UP
- Starring singers Nardus Williams, Soraya Mafi, Lucy Crowe, Jonathan Lemalu and Stuart Jackson
- Premiere of In the Realms of Sorrow, brand new theatrical experience directed by Adele Thomas
- Featuring Bjate Eijste, Barokksolistene, The Hermes Experiment and The Early Opera Company
- London venues St George’s Hanover Square, Stone Nest, Shoreditch Treehouse and more
· Final of the International Handel Singing Competition presented by Danielle de Niese
- Launch of the brand new LHF Opera Studio and LHF Inspire, learning & participation programme
- Experimental Handel-inspired performances presented by Nonclassical at Village Underground
On 15th November 2022, the London Handel Festival announced its spring festival with an exciting line up of world-class artists presenting a mix of traditional and innovative programming. The performances will be held across a range of London venues from St George’s Hanover Square to Shoreditch Treehouse and will run from 23rd February to 18th March 2023. The ‘Forces of Nature’ festival aims to channel George Frideric Handel’s boundary-pushing spirit by presenting a diverse programme of both familiar repertoire and brand-new Handel-inspired works across a variety of traditional and more unusual London venues.
Gregory Batsleer, Festival Director comments: “London Handel Festival 2023 promises to be one of our most exciting to date. Handel was the original force of nature and our jam-packed three-and-a-half-week festival reflects his continued inspiration in today’s world. We welcome some of the most exceptional performers in an array of Handel inspired events and performances and I’m particularly thrilled to be launching two new initiatives; our Handel Opera Studio and LHF INSPIRE, our brand-new learning and education programme. As ever we are committed to ensuring there is something for everyone. Whether you are new to Festival or have been coming for years we guarantee there will be something for you.”
Laurence Cummings, Musical Director of the London Handel Festival since 1999 adds: “We are all incredibly excited to welcome audiences to our 2023 London Handel Festival ‘Forces of Nature’, which features an array of wonderful concerts and events, performed by world class artists and ensembles. In particular, I’m greatly looking forward to In the Realms of Sorrow. This brand-new production promises to be one of the most extraordinary theatrical events we have ever produced. The London Handel Festival continues to be one of the very best the places to hear and see Handel. The life affirming nature of his music is arguably needed now more than ever. Handel’s ability to capture the spectrum of human emotion so completely and so beautifully is for me, what makes him so utterly peerless and unique.”
The London Handel Festival opens on 23rd February with a starry line-up of soloists and an exciting collective of musicians performing Handel’s great oratorio Alexander’s Feast at Handel’s church, St George’s Hanover Square. Laurence Cummings conducts the performance which features soprano Lucy Crowe, tenor Stuart Jackson and bass Jonathan Lemalu with the London Handel Festival Orchestra, the London Handel Singers and the National Youth Choir Fellows.
This season the London Handel Festival launchesthe Handel Opera Studio with award-winning director Adele Thomas and internationally renowned conductor Laurence Cummings heading up its first production. This exciting initiative marks the start of a journey to develop an in-house opera studio as part of the London Handel Festival, focussing on its core charitable objectives of making Handel’s music more accessible and being a recognised international hub for the performance of his music. The London Handel Festival has a long tradition of producing world-class opera in partnership with other organisations but with the creation of the Handel Opera Studio, the focus shifts to producing its own innovative and fresh interpretations of Handel’s rarely heard dramatic works. The Handel Opera Studio aims to eventually tour the UK as well as producing a new work each year.
The first production from the Handel Opera Studio, In the Realms of Sorrow is a brand-new theatrical experience presented in a run of four performances on 28th February, 1st, 2nd and 3rd March at Stone Nest, in the heart of London’s West End. Award winning director Adele Thomas has created a cutting-edge stage adaptation of Handel’s four most emotive and soul-searching cantatas for solo voice and ensemble. Sopranos Claire Booth, Soraya Mafi and Nardus Williams along with countertenor Patrick Terry are joined by narrator Jamie Lang in this immersive performance which will be framed by brand new music from composer Heloise Werner.
Marking the start of a brand-new partnership, the London Handel Festival teams with alternative classical music promoter nonclassical to present a special evening on 3rd March at iconic London club Village Underground, showcasing how Handel’s music continues to inspire musicians in the 21st century. The evening will feature three original set performances by leading contemporary music artists including Laila Sakini and Claudia Molitor followed by a live DJ set from nonclassical founder Gabriel Prokofiev. This performance signals the beginning of an exciting new partnership between LHF and Non-classical.
Celebrated violinist and director Bjate Eijste and principal members of Barokksolistene renowned for their ‘Alehouse Sessions’ lead ‘A Royal Collaboration’ on 8th March. For this performance, the London Handel Festival brings together the Royal Academy of Music Baroque Orchestra plus some of the finest young baroque musicians from the UK’s top conservatoires to form a unique ensemble performing a lively mix of well-known Handel works with explorations of more adventurous repertoire.
Following their sparkling debut in 2022, The Hermes Experiment returns to the London Handel Festival for a very special performance at Shoreditch Treehouse, one of London’s most intimate music venues. Shoreditch Treehouse is a place to experience live music in a totally different way. Typical concert formality is left at the door and guests are invited to come up and experience the music they hear however they choose. The Hermes Experiment will perform music by composers spanning nearly 400 years, including a selection of specially written arrangements of music by Handel.
Brand-new concept LHF Supper Club launches with a dining event to celebrate Handel’s birthday at the Fidelio Café in Farringdon on 7th March. This intimate evening brings together performances from Festival Associate Musical Director, Adrian Butterfield and winner of the 2018 International Handel Singing Competition, mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston with a three-course meal and specially curated wine menu.
Handel was deeply committed to nurturing and championing the talents of young singers from around the world, many of whom rose to fame as his star soloists. The International Handel Singing Competition continues this great tradition and has grown since its inauguration in 2002 to become a major international event with a reputation for showcasing the very best young singing talent. This year’s final will be held on 16th March, presented by star soprano Danielle de Niese.
Four lunchtime recitals in the City of London showcase the talents of Steven Divine, the Brook Street Band, Opera Settecento and last year’s winner of the International Handel Singing Competition, Alexander Chance along with his fellow finalists.
The London Handel Festival draws to a close on 18th March with a special performance of Handel’s rarely performed opera Scipione presented by the award-winning Early Opera Company. Acclaimed conductor Christian Curnyn leads an all-star cast featuring soprano Mhairi Lawson and recent International Handel Singing Competition winners Jessica Cale and Alexander Chance.Performed over three acts, this magical opera is set in 210 BC and recounts the life and tales of the great Roman General, Scipio Africanus.
New learning and participation programme LHF Inspire launches this year, presenting a variety of opportunities for communities to get involved with Handel-inspired music making. Also new this year is a £10 ticket initiative aimed at welcoming new audiences to performances with an accessible ticket price for their first visit.
As ever, the festival presents opportunities for people to get involved in appreciation the music of Handel beyond attending traditional performances through the popular ‘Come and Sing’ events which offer the chance to sing Handel’s music in the company of a leading Handel expert, guided walks around London and special behind the scenes events.