Highlights include:

  • Handel’s Samson at the London Handel Festival on 13 October
  • Handel’s Messiah for Jessie’s Fund on 15 October
  • Kristian Bezuidenhout directs The English Concert in works by Handel and Purcell at Wigmore Hall on 22 October
  • Handel’s Alcina at LA Opera on 2 & 5 and Cal Performances, Berkeley on 7 November

The English Concert is delighted to announce an exciting autumn ahead with a focus on the music of Handel including Samson at the London Handel Festival (13 October); Messiah for Jessie with all proceeds going to Jessie’s Fund (15 October) and concert performances of Alcina at LA Opera (2 & 5 November) and Cal Performances (7 November). Kristian Bezuidenhout directs The English Concert in works by Handel and Purcell at Wigmore Hall (22 October).

Handel’s Samson at the London Handel Festival, St George’s Hanover Square, 13 October, 7pm

Handel’s oratorio Samson tells of the last few moments of the great Israelite warrior, in a dramatic story of his journey from darkness to heavenly light. Composed within a few weeks of Handel’s Messiah and based on Milton’s Samson Agonistes, it became one of Handel’s most successful and popular oratorios. This performance at the London Handel Festival on 13 October at St George’s Hanover Square, marks the 350th anniversary of Milton’s Paradise Regained and Samson AgonistesHarry Bicket directs a stellar cast including Stuart Jackson (Samson), Sophie Bevan (Dalilah), Paula Murrihy (Micah), Matthew Brook (Manoah), David Shipley (Harapha) and Rachel Redmond (Israelite Woman). This performance will feature the earliest performing version of 1743 and following Handel’s scholar Donald Burrow’s research, will present this mighty work with the soloists alone performing the choruses. More information and tickets here.

Handel’s Messiah for Jessie’s Fund, St James’s Church, Piccadilly, 15 October, 7.30pm

Jessie’s Fund, which was set up in memory of a musical little girl, helps children with life-limiting illness, disabilities, or special educational needs through music. Most of the children the charity works with are unable to speak: interactive music gives them a voice – a means of communication which needs no words. Trevor Pinnock is a Patron of Jessie’s Fund, and he directs The English Concert & Choir in this special performance of Handel’s Messiah at St James’s Piccadilly on 15 October at 7.30pm. The star-studded cast features Sophie BevanClaudia HuckleJosh Elliott and Ashley Riches and all ticket income will go to Jessie’s Fund, and you can hear more about it here.

Trevor Pinnock says, ‘Handel devoted Messiah to the support of children, giving yearly benefit performances at the Foundling Hospital and bequeathing them all his musical material. It has been my dream to follow Handel’s strong lead in celebration of 25 years of Jessie’s Fund and this we do in a shortened journey through his inspired masterpiece.’ More information and tickets here.

Kristian Bezuidenhout and The English Concert, Wigmore Hall, 22 October, 7.30pm

Kristian Bezuidenhout directs The English Concert & Choir in a performance of Purcell’s ‘Why, why are all the muses mute?’ Z343 and Handel’s Chandos Anthem No. 7 ‘My song shall be alway’ HWV252 featuring soloists soprano Anna Dennis and bass Matthew Brook at Wigmore Hall on 22 October at 7.30pm. More information and tickets here.

Handel’s Alcina at LA Opera on 2 & 5 and Cal Performances on 7 November

Harry Bicket and The English Concert will give three concert performances of Handel’s thrilling Alcina in Los Angeles and Berkeley, California (COVID travel permitting). They make their debut at LA Opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on 2 & 5 November at 7.30pm, followed by a long-awaited return to Cal performances, Berkeley on 7 November at 3pm. On an enchanted island with not one but two sorceresses (maybe evil, maybe not), discarded lovers are transformed into wild beasts and a young woman disguises herself as a man so she can track down her missing lover. The cast features Karina Gauvin in the title role (Alcina), Lucy Crowe (Morgana), Elizabeth DeShong (Bradamante), Paula Murrihy (Ruggiero), Alek Shrader (Oronte) and Wojtek Gierlach (Melisso). More information and tickets for LA Opera can be found here and Cal Performances here.