Page 1

Royal_Theodora PB FINAL_PSOC Template 10-12 1/7/14 9:59 AM Page 8


HANDEL: THEODORA HWV 68 An Oratorio | Words by Thomas Morell MONDAY, JANUARY 27, 2014, 7PM

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall


The English Concert Harry Bicket, artistic director Dorothea Röschmann, soprano (Theodora) Sarah Connolly, mezzo-soprano (Irene) David Daniels, countertenor (Didymus) Andrew Kennedy, tenor (Septimius) Neal Davies, bass (Valens) The Choir of Trinity Wall Street Julian Wachner, director of Music and the Arts

Theodora, HWV 68

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)

1. Act 1. Overture 2. Act 1. Recitative / Aria / Chorus 3. Act 1. Recitative / Aria 4. Act 1. Chorus 5. Act 1. Recitative / Aria 6. Act 1. Recitative / Aria 7. Act 1. Recitative / Aria 8. Act 1. Recitative 9. Act 1. Chorus 10. Act 1. Recitative / Recitative / Aria 11. Act 1. Chorus 12. Act 1. Recitative 13. Act 1. Recitative / Aria 14. Act 1. Recitative 15. Act 1. Aria 16. Act 1. Recitative / Chorus 17. Act 2. Recitative / Chorus 18. Act 2. Aria 19. Act 2. Recitative / Chorus 20. Act 2. Symphony 21. Act 2. Recitative / Aria 22. Act 2. Symphony 23. Act 2. Recitative / Aria

24. Act 2. Recitative / Recitative / Aria 25. Act 2. Recitative 26. Act 2. Recitative / Aria 27. Act 2. Recitative / Aria 28. Act 2. Recitative 29. Act 2. Aria 30. Act 2. Recitative 31. Act 2. Duet 32. Act 2. Recitative 33. Act 2. Chorus 34. Act 3. Aria 35. Act 3. Recitative 36. Act 3. Chorus 37. Act 3. Recitative 38. Act 3. Duet 39. Act 3. Recitative / Aria 40. Act 3. Aria 41. Act 3. Recitative 42. Act 3. Chorus 43. Act 3. Recitative 44. Act 3. Duet 45. Act 3. Recitative 46. Act 3. Chorus

The Philharmonic Society gratefully acknowledges Milan Panic for his generous sponsorship of tonight’s performance.

Exclusive Print and Online Sponsor Although rare, all dates, times, artists, programs and prices are subject to change. Photographing or recording this performance without permission is prohibited. Kindly disable pagers, cellular phones and other audible devices.


DRAMATIS PERSONAE Theodora, a Christian of noble birth (soprano) Didymus, a Roman Officer, converted & in love with Theodora (alto) Septimius, his friend (tenor) Valens, President of Antioch (bass) Irene, a Christian (mezzo-soprano) Messenger (tenor) Chorus of Christians Chorus of Heathens ACT ONE Overture Scene 1 Valens, Didymus, Septimius, Chorus of Heathens. Recitative Valens 'Tis Dioclesian's natal day. Proclaim throughout the bounds of Antioch a feast, and solemn sacrifice to Jove. Whoso disdains to join the sacred rites shall feel our wrath in chastisement, or death. And this, Septimius, take you in charge. 1. Air Valens Go, my faithful soldier, go. Let the fragrant incense rise, to Jove, great ruler of the skies. 2. Chorus of Heathens And draw a blessing down, on his imperial crown, who rules the world below. Recitative Didymus Vouchsafe, dread Sir, a gracious ear to my request. Let not thy sentence doom to racks and flames all, all, whose scrup'lous minds will not permit them, or, to bend the knee to gods they know not, or, in wanton mood, to celebrate the day with Roman rites. Valens Art thou a Roman, and yet dar'st defend a sect, rebellious to the gods and Rome?

Royal_Theodora PB FINAL_PSOC Template 10-12 1/7/14 9:59 AM Page 9

Valens It cannot be. They are not Cæsar's friends, who own not Cæsar's gods. I'll hear no more. 3. Air Valens Racks, gibbets, sword and fire, shall speak my vengeful ire, against the stubborn knee. Nor gushing tears, nor ardent pray'rs, shall shake our firm decree. Racks, gibbets. . . da capo

something within declares for acts of mercy. But Antioch's President must be obey'd: such is the Roman discipline, while we can only pity whom we dare not spare. 6. Air Septimius Descend, kind pity, heav'nly guest, descend, and fill each human breast with sympathizing woe. That liberty, and peace of mind, may sweetly harmonize mankind, and bless the world below. Descend. . . da capo Scene 3 Theodora, with the Christians.

Exit Valens.


4. Chorus of Heathens

Theodora Tho’ hard, my friends, yet wholesome are the truths taught in affliction's school, whence the pure soul rises refin'd, and soars above the world.

For ever thus stands fix'd the doom of rebels to the gods and Rome: while sweeter than the trumpet's sound, their groans and cries are heard around. Scene 2 Recitative Didymus Most cruel edict! Sure, thy generous soul, Septimius, abhors the dreadful task of persecution. Ought we not to leave the free-born mind of man still ever free, since vain is the attempt to force belief with the severest instruments of death? 5. Air Didymus The raptur'd soul defies the sword, secure of virtue's claim, and trusting Heav'n's unerring word, enjoys the circling flame. No engine can a tyrant find, to storm the truth-supported mind. The raptur'd soul. . . da capo Recitative Septimius I know thy virtues, and ask not thy faith: enjoy it as you will, my Didymus. Though not a Christian, yet I own


Didymus Many there are in Antioch, who disdain an idol-offering, yet are friends to Cæsar.

7. Air Theodora Fond, flatt'ring world, adieu! Thy gaily-smiling pow'r, empty treasures, fleeting pIeasures, ne'er shall tempt or charm me more. Faith inviting, hope delighting, nobler joys we now pursue. Recitative Irene O bright example of all goodness! How easy seems affliction's heavy load, while thus instructed and companion'd thus, as 'twere with Heav'n conversing, we look down on the vain pomp of proud prosperity. 8. Air Irene Bane of virtue, nurse of passions, soother of vile inclinations, such is, Prosperity, thy name. True happiness is only found, where grace and truth and love abound, and pure religion feeds the flame. Bane of virtue. . . da capo


Royal_Theodora PB FINAL_PSOC Template 10-12 1/7/14 9:59 AM Page 10


9. Chorus of Christians Come, mighty Father, mighty Lord, with love our souls inspire, while grace and truth flow from thy word, and feed the holy fire.

Recitative Scene 4 Recitative Messenger Fly, fly, my brethren, heathen rage pursues us swift, arm'd with the terrors of insulting death. Irene Ah! whither should we fly, or fly from whom? The Lord is still the same, today, forever, and his protection here, and everywhere. Still shall thy servants wait on Thee, O Lord, and in thy saving mercy put their trust. 10. Air Irene As with rosy steps the morn, advancing, drives the shades of night, So from virtuous toil well-borne, raise thou our hopes of endless light. Triumphant saviour, Lord of day, thou art the life, the light, the way! As with rosy steps. . . da capo 11. Chorus of Christians All pow'r in Heav'n above or earth beneath belongs to Thee alone, thou Everlasting One, mighty to save in perils, storm and death. Scene 5 Enter Septimius. Recitative Septimius Mistaken wretches! Why thus blind to fate, do ye in private oratories dare oppose the President's decree, and scorn with native rites to celebrate the day sacred to CĂŚsar and protecting Jove? 12. Air


Fond of life and liberty. Chains and dungeons ye are wooing, and the storm of death pursuing. Rebels to the known decree. Dread the fruits. . . da capo

Septimius Dread the fruits of Christian folly, and this stubborn melancholy

Theodora Deluded mortal! Call it not rebellion, to worship God: it is His dread command, His whom we cannot, dare not, disobey, though death be our reward. Septimius Death is not yet thy doom, but worse than death to such a virtuous mind. Lady, these guards are order'd to convey you to the vile place, a prostitute, to devote your charms. 13. Accompagnato Theodora Oh, worse than death indeed! Lead me, ye guards, lead me, or to the rack, or to the flames; I'll thank your gracious mercy. 14. Air Theodora Angels, ever bright and fair, take, oh take me to your care. Speed to your own courts my flight, clad in robes of virgin white. Angels. . . da capo Exit Theodora with Septimius. Scene 6 Enter Didymus. Recitative Didymus Unhappy, happy crew! Why stand ye thus, wild with amazement? Say, where is my love, my life, my Theodora? Irene Alas! She's gone. Too late thou cam'st to save the fairest, noblest, best of women. A Roman soldier led her, trembling, hence to the vile place, where Venus keeps her court.

Royal_Theodora PB FINAL_PSOC Template 10-12 1/7/14 9:59 AM Page 11

18. Air

Didymus Kind Heav'n, if virtue be thy care, with courage fire me, or art inspire me, to free the captive fair. On the wings of the wind will I fly, with this princess to live, or this Christian to die. Kind Heav'n. . . da capo

Valens Wide spread his name, and make his glory Of endless fame the lasting story.

Exit Didymus. Scene 7 Recitative Irene O love, how great thy pow'r! but greater still, when virtue prompts the steady mind to prove its native strength in deeds of highest honour. 16. Chorus of Christians Go, gen'rous, pious youth: may all the pow'rs above reward thy virtuous love, Thy constancy and truth, with Theodora's charms, free from these dire alarms; or crown you with the blest, in glory, peace and rest.

Recitative Valens Return, Septimius, to the stubborn maid, and learn her final resolution. If ere the sun with prone career has reach'd the western isles, she deigns an offering to the great gods, she shall be free. If not, the meanest of my guards with lustful joy shall triumph o'er her boasted chastity.


15. Air

19. Chorus of Heathens Venus laughing from the skies, will applaud her votaries. While seizing the treasure we revel in pleasure, revenge sweet love supplies. Scene 2 Theodora, in her Place of Confinement. 20. Symphony Recitative

ACT TWO Scene 1 Valens, and Chorus of Heathens.

Theodora O thou bright sun! How sweet thy rays to health and liberty! But here, alas, they swell the agonizing thought of shame, and pierce my soul with sorrows yet unknown.

Recitative 21. Air Valens Ye men of Antioch, with solemn pomp, renew the grateful sacrifice to Jove; and while your songs ascend the vaulted skies, pour on the smoking altar floods of wine, in honour of the smiling deities, fair Flora, and the Cyprian queen.

Theodora With darkness deep, as is my woe, hide me, ye shades of night; Your thickest veil around me throw, conceal'd from human sight. Or come thou death, thy victim save, kindly embosom'd in the grave.

17. Chorus of Heathens 22. Symphony Queen of summer, queen of love and thou, cloud-compelling Jove, grant a long and happy reign, to great CĂŚsar, king of men.

Recitative Theodora But why art thou disquieted, my soul? Hark! Heav'n invites thee in sweet rapt'rous strains,



Royal_Theodora PB FINAL_PSOC Template 10-12 1/7/14 9:59 AM Page 12

to join the ever-singing, ever-loving choir of saints and angels in the courts above.

and you, my friend, with all that Heav'n can give to the sincerity of Pray'r.

23. Air

25. Air

Theodora Oh, that I on wings could rise, swiftly sailing through the skies, as skims the silver dove! That I might rest, forever blest, with harmony and love. Oh, that I on wings. . . da capo

Didymus Deeds of kindness to display, pity suing, mercy wooing, who the call can disobey? But the opportune redress of virtuous beauty in distress, earth will praise and Heav'n repay. Deeds of kindness. . . da capo

Scene 3 Didymus and Septimius. Recitative

Scene 4 Irene, with the Christians.

Didymus Long have I known thy friendly social soul, Septimius, when side by side we fought, dependant on each other's arm. With freedom then, I will disclose my mind: I am a Christian, and she, who by Heaven's influential grace with pure religious sentiment inspir'd my soul, with virtuous love inflam'd my heart; ev'n she, who, shame to all humanity, is now condemn'd to public lust.


Septimius No more! The shame reflects too much upon thy friend, the mean, tho’ duteous instrument of pow'r, knowing her virtues only, not thy love.

Irene Defend her, Heav'n! Let angels spread their viewless tents around her bed. Keep her from vile assaults secure, still ever calm, and ever pure. Defend her. . . da capo

Irene The clouds begin to veil the hemisphere, and heavily bring on the night, the last perhaps to us. Oh, that it were the last to Theodora, ere she fall a prey to unexampled lust and cruelty. 26. Air

24. Air Septimius Tho’ the honours that Flora and Venus receive from the Romans, this Christian refuses to give, yet nor Venus, nor Flora, delight in the woe that disfigures their fairest resemblance below.



Didymus Or lull'd with grief, or rapt her soul to Heav'n In innocence of thought, entranc'd she lies.

Didymus Oh, save her then, or give me pow'r to save by free admission to th'emprison'd maid!

27. Air

Septimius My guards, not less asham'd of their vile office, will second your intent, and pleasure me.

Didymus (approaching her) Sweet rose and lily, flow'ry form, take me your faithful guard, to shield you from bleak wind and storm, a smile be my reward.

Didymus I will reward them with a bounteous heart, 12

Scene 5 Theodora's Place of Confinement. Didymus at a distance, the vizor of his helmet clos'd.

Royal_Theodora PB FINAL_PSOC Template 10-12 1/7/14 9:59 AM Page 13


Didymus Start not, much injur'd princess, I come not as one this place might give you cause to dread; But your deliverer, sent by just Heav'n, to save the world's unrival'd ornament of virtue, faith, and every Christian grace; And that dear ornament to Theodora, her angel-purity. If you vouchsafe but to change habit with your Didymus (revealing himself). Theodora Excellent youth! I know thy courage, virtue and thy love and never can consent they should destroy their author. This becomes not Theodora, but the blind enemies of truth. Oh no! it must not be. Yet Didymus can give a boon, will make me happy, nor himself endanger. Didymus How? or what? My soul with transport listens to the request. 28. Air Theodora The pilgrim's home, the sick man's health, the captive's ransom, poor man's wealth, from thee I would receive. These, and a thousand treasures more, that gentle death has now in store, thy hand and sword can give. 29. Accompagnato Didymus Forbid it, Heav'n! Shall I destroy the life I came to save? Shall I in Theodora's blood embue my guilty hands, and give her death, who taught me first to live? Theodora Ah! What is liberty or life to me, That Didymus must purchase with his own? Didymus Fear not for me; the pow'r that led me hither Will guard me hence. If not, His will be done!

Farewell, thou generous youth! Didymus Farewell, thou mirror of the virgin state! 30. Duet


Theodora (starting) Oh, save me, Heav'n, in this my perilous hour!

Theodora Yes, kind deliverer, I will trust that pow'r to hear my pray'rs for thee.

Theodora To thee, thou glorious son of worth, Be life and safety giv'n. Didymus To thee, whose virtues suit thy birth, be every blessing giv'n. Theodora and Didymus I hope again to meet on earth, but sure shall meet in Heav'n. Scene 6 Irene, with the Christians. Recitative Irene 'Tis night, but night's sweet blessing is denied to grief like ours. Be pray'r our refuge, pray'r to Him, who rais'd, and still can raise, the dead to life and joy. 31. Chorus of Christians He saw the lovely youth, death's early prey, alas, too early snatch'd away! He heard his mother's fun'ral cries: "Rise, youth," he said; the youth begins to rise. Lowly the matron bow'd, and bore away the prize. ACT THREE Scene 1 Irene, with the Christians. 32. Air Irene Lord, to Thee each night and day, strong in hope, we sing and pray. Though convulsive rocks the ground, and thy thunders roll around, Still to Thee, each night and day, 13


Royal_Theodora PB FINAL_PSOC Template 10-12 1/7/14 9:59 AM Page 14

we sing and pray. Lord, to Thee. . . da capo Scene 2 Enter Theodora, in the habit of Didymus. Recitative Irene But see! the good, the virtuous Didymus! He comes to join with us in pray'r for Theodora. Theodora (revealing herself) No, Heav'n has heard your pray'rs for Theodora. Behold her safe! Oh, that as free and safe were Didymus, my kind deliverer! But let this habit speak the rest. 33. Air Theodora When sunk in anguish and despair, to Heav'n I cried, Heav'n heard my pray'r, and bade a tender father's care the gen'rous youth employ. The gen'rous youth obey'd and came, all wrapt in love's divinest flame, to save a wretched virgin's fame, And turn her grief to joy.

Irene Ah, Theodora, whence this sudden change, from grief's pale looks, to looks of redd'ning joy? 35. Accompagnato Theodora O my Irene, Heav'n is kind; And Valens too is kind, to give me pow'r to execute, in turn, my gratitude, while safe my honour. Stay me not, dear friend, only assist me with a proper dress, that I may ransom the too gen'rous youth. 36. Duet Irene Whither, Princess, do you fly, sure to suffer, sure to die? Theodora No, no, Irene, no, to life and joy I go. Irene Vain attempt, oh stay, oh stay! Theodora Duty calls, I must obey.

34. Solo and Chorus

Exit Theodora.

Christians Blest be the hand, and blest the pow'r, that in this dark and dang'rous hour, Sav'd thee from cruel strife.


Theodora and Christians Lord, favour still the kind intent and bless thy gracious instrument with liberty and life.

Irene She's gone, disdaining liberty and life, and ev'ry honour this frail life can give. Devotion bids aspire to nobler things, to boundless love, and joys ineffable: And such her expectation from kind Heav'n. 37. Air

Scene 3 Enter Messenger. Recitative Messenger Undaunted in the court stands Didymus, virtuously proud of rescued innocence. But vain to save the gen'rous hero's life are all entreaties, ev'n from Romans vain. And, high-enrag'd, the President protests, should he regain the fugitive, no more to try her with the fear of infamy, but with the terrors of a cruel death. 14

Irene New scenes of joy come crowding on while sorrow fleets away, like mists before the rising sun that gives a glorious day. Scene 4 Valens, Didymus, Septimius, and Chorus of Heathens. Recitative Valens Is it a Christian virtue then,

Royal_Theodora PB FINAL_PSOC Template 10-12 1/7/14 9:59 AM Page 15

Didymus Such my religion, it condemns all crimes, none more than disobedience to just pow'r; and had your sentence doom'd her but to death, I then might have deplor'd your cruelty, and not attempted to defeat it. Yet, I own no crime, unless it be a crime to've hindered you from perpetrating that which would have made you odious to mankind, at least the fairest half. Valens Aye, aye, fond man It was the charms of beauty, not of virtue, That tempted you to save her. Take him hence, And lead him to repentance, or to death. Scene 5 Enter Theodora. Theodora Be that my doom. You may inflict it here, with legal justice, there 'tis cruelty.

freely for thee I would resign them all. Theodora Oppose not, Didymus, my just desires; for know, that 'twas dishonour I declin'd, not death; most welcome now if Didymus were safe, whose only crime was my escape. Air Lost in anguish quite despairing, Heav’n alone for virtue caring, then the gen’rous youth did fly. Heav’n and love at once obeying, nor from virtue ever straying, Bless’d this moment, let me die!


to rescue, from the hands of justice, one condemn'd by my authority?

40. Chorus of Heathens How strange their ends, and yet how glorious, where each contends to fall victorious, where virtue its own innocence denies, and for the vanquish'd, the glad victor dies! Recitative

Septimius Dwells there such virtuous courage in the sex? Preserve them, O ye gods, preserve them both.

Didymus (to Valens) On me your frowns, your utmost rage exert; On me, your prisoner in chains.

38. Air Septimius From virtue springs each gen'rous deed that claims our grateful pray'r. Let justice for the hero plead, and pity save the fair. From virtue springs. . . da capo

Theodora Those chains are due to me, and death to me alone. Valens Are ye then judges for yourselves? Not so our laws are to be trifled with. If both plead guilty, 'tis but equity that both should suffer.

39. Air 41. Air Valens Cease, ye slaves, your fruitless pray'r! The pow'rs below no pity know for the brave, or for the fair. Recitative Didymus (to Septimius) 'Tis kind, my friends, but kinder still, if for this daughter of Antiochus, your pray'rs prevail, that Didymus alone shall die.

Valens Ye ministers of justice, lead them hence, I cannot, will not bear such insolence. And as our gods they honour, or despise, fall they their supplicants, or sacrifice. Exit Valens. Scene 6 Recitative

(to Theodora) Had I as many lives as virtues thou,



Royal_Theodora PB FINAL_PSOC Template 10-12 1/7/14 9:59 AM Page 16

Didymus And must such beauty suffer? Theodora Such useful valour be destroy'd? Septimius Destroy'd, Alas, by an unhappy constancy! Didymus Yet deem us not unhappy, gentle friend, nor rash; for life we neither hate, nor scorn, but think it a cheap purchase for the prize reserv'd in Heav'n for purity and faith. 42. Air and Duet Didymus Streams of pleasure ever flowing, fruits ambrosial ever growing, golden thrones, starry crowns, are the triumphs of the blest. When from life's dull labour free, clad with immortality, they enjoy a lasting rest. Theodora and Didymus Thither let our hearts aspire: objects pure of pure desire, still increasing, ever pleasing, wake the song, and tune the lyre of the blissful holy choir. Exeunt

Theodora was a Christian martyr (d. 304) in Antioch during Diocletian’s rule, not to be confused with the notorious 6th century wife of Justinian, a courtesan who became empress. An opening scene from Handel’s work honors Jove and the emperor. Valens, a Roman prefect, threatens death to all who refuse to sacrifice. Didymus, a Roman officer secretly converted to Christianity, objects, and seeks the help of Septimius, his superior and friend, against Valens. Theodora, a noblewoman, accompanied by her confidente, Irene, also defies the decree of Valens, who arrests Theodora and assigns her to “serve” in the temple of Venus. In the second act, Septimius tries to convince Theodora that sacrificing to Jove is preferable to becoming a temple prostitute, but Theodora relies on divine help. Didymus confesses to Septimius that he is Christian and devoted to Theodora. Didymus is allowed to visit Theodora in prison, where he changes clothes with her, allowing her to escape. In the third act, Theodora returns to the faithful Christians, but soon it is apparent that Didymus has been condemned to death for arranging the escape, and Theodora faces a similar fate. She bravely accepts martyrdom in order to save Didymus, and wicked Valens condemns both. A profound social message is heard when Didymus tells Septimius: “Ought we not to leave the freeborn mind of man still ever free? Since vain is the attempt to force belief with the severest instruments of death.” Septimius even shows heathen tolerance when he claims that the Roman goddesses would not approve the cruelties done in their name. In the final scene, Valens sees no reason to avoid the martyrdom both defendants seek. How shall we define oratorio versus opera, especially in England?

Scene 7 Irene, with the Christians. Recitative Irene Ere this, their doom is past and they are gone to prove that love is stronger far than death. 43. Chorus of Christians O love divine, thou source of fame, of glory, and all joy! Let equal fire our souls inflame, and equal zeal employ, that we the glorious spring may know, whose streams appear'd so bright below. 16

Who was Theodora?


Opera in the 18th-century, primarily an Italian form, contained rather dry speech-like musical “recitatives” in which the action developed, accompanied only by harpsichord (sometimes with cello). Song-like arias (duets, small ensembles, choruses) with orchestra then stopped the action to allow the characters to express emotions in vocally dramatic and often memorable music. The 19th century eventually had the orchestra constantly playing and even participating in the description of action and emotion (clearly heard in Verdi and Puccini, and especially in Wagner’s late 19th-century orchestra being as important as his singers in describing action). Oratorio began in Italy in the 17th century as a religious teaching form, sung in Latin; it eventually contained the musical elements of opera, but without acting, costumes and scenery. Handel, fairly fresh from studies in Italy

Royal_Theodora PB FINAL_PSOC Template 10-12 1/7/14 9:59 AM Page 17

influence that utterly forbade anything religious from being presented on a theatrical stage gave way to infectious musical drama, even when biblically based (Jephtha comes directly from the Old Testament’s Book of Judges, Messiah relies strongly on Old Testament predictions, especially those of Isaiah, and Theodora is about a legendary if non-biblical Christian). The gorgeous musical duets between Theodora and Didymus tell us of their strong love and Christian faith, and other arias and choruses gently fortify these ennobling virtues. Handel was convinced that the post-earthquake theaters of London would remain empty from fears of recurrences, and that the compelling Christian bent of this work would dissuade the Jews from attending. When Handel was asked about his favorite choruses, with special references to those inescapably magnificent examples in Messiah, he insisted that his favorite was the “resurrection from the dead” chorus, “He saw the lovely youth,” from the end of the second act of Theodora.


(although always a German in England, even after receiving British citizenship), wrote dramatic Italian operas for his Italian-loving 18th-century English audiences, imported famous Italian singers, and supplied his London audiences with libretti that translated the Italian into English. London, during the 1720s, was the operatic center of Europe. In the 1730s, the British public tired of Italian, turning often to bawdier popular entertainments (John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera). Handel, always the good businessman, began to compose large dramatic forms in English: operatic “oratorios” if on biblical themes (Solomon, Messiah, Judas Maccabaeus, Saul, Israel in Egypt), royal “odes,” “serenatas,” and “pastorals” if not biblical (Acis & Galatea, Hercules, Alexander’s Feast, Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day). Most of Handel’s large vocal works in English for soloists and chorus reflect Greek tragedies or are based on dramas from the Hebrew scriptures, the latter instantly being admired by the British, who saw themselves as God’s chosen people. Of course, his innumerable songs, secular cantatas, harpsichord suites and chamber works (trio sonatas) were composed for noble patrons and performed in palatial salons. Occasionally, Handel turned out something that must be described as opera in oratorio form: an historical if not biblical story set to very dramatic operatic music with full orchestra, but not intended to be costumed or staged. Theodora (1749) and Jephtha (1752) were his last such oratorios, both strongly religious but flowing smoothly, without the jerky separations in time and style between recitatives, arias, choruses, etc. First performed under Handel’s direction in the Royal Opera House of Covent Garden in March of 1750, following a series of severe theater-emptying earthquakes in London, Theodora, or The Martyrdom of Theodora and Didymus, “with a new concerto on the organ,” on a non-biblical but historical Christian subject, was a theatrical and financial failure, unlike his earlier oratorio, Messiah of 1742—a popular and dependably continuing money-maker for the composer. Politics as well as evolving popular taste made a difference. The strongly Puritan

- Notes by Dr. Burton Karson ef THE ENGLISH CONCERT The 2013-14 season marks the 40th anniversary of The English Concert. With an unsurpassed reputation for inspiring performances of Baroque and Classical music, The English Concert ranks among the finest chamber orchestras in the world. Created by Trevor Pinnock in 1973, the orchestra appointed Harry Bicket as its Artistic Director in 2007. Bicket is renowned for his work with singers and vocal collaborators in recent seasons, including Mark Padmore, Ian Bostridge, Vesselina Kasarova, Lucy Crowe, Elizabeth Watts, Carolyn Sampson, Danielle de Niese and Sarah Connolly.



Royal_Theodora PB FINAL_PSOC Template 10-12 1/7/14 9:59 AM Page 18

Part of the Arts Council National Portfolio program, The English Concert has a wide touring brief in England and the 2013-14 season will see them appear across the UK. Recent highlights include European and U.S. tours with Alice Coote, Sara Mingardo, Anna Caterina Antonacci, David Daniels and Andreas Scholl and the orchestra’s first tour to mainland China. Harry Bicket directed The English Concert and Choir in Bach’s Mass in B minor at the 2012 Leipzig Bachfest and later that year at the BBC Proms, a performance that was televised for BBC 4. Following the success of Handel’s Radamisto in New York earlier this year, Carnegie Hall has commissioned one Handel opera each season from The English Concert. Radamisto will be followed by Theodora in 2014, which will also tour to the West Coast of the U.S. as well as Théâtre des Champs Elysées Paris and The Barbican London. Future seasons will see performances of Handel’s Alcina and Orlando. The English Concert's discography includes more than a 100 recordings with Trevor Pinnock for Deutsche Grammophon Archiv, and a series of critically acclaimed CDs for Harmonia Mundi with violinist Andrew Manze. Recordings with Harry Bicket have been widely praised, including Lucy Crowe’s debut solo recital, Il caro Sassone. In October EMI Classics released Sound the Trumpet, a recording of Baroque music for trumpet with Alison Balsom and The English Concert directed by Trevor Pinnock. A new recording with music by Handel and mezzo-soprano Alice Coote is due for release early in 2014. The English Concert works with several distinguished guest directors, including violinist Fabio Biondi and harpsichordists Laurence Cummings and Kenneth Weiss. HARRY BICKET, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Renowned as an opera and concert conductor, Harry Bicket is especially noted for his interpretation of Baroque and Classical repertoire and became Artistic Director of The English Concert in 2007. In October 2013, he took up the post of Chief Conductor of Santa Fe Opera. Opera plans for the 2013-14 season include Liceu Opera, Barcelona (Agrippina), Canadian Opera Company (Hercules) and leading Santa Fe Opera Company's first per-


formances of Beethoven's Fidelio. Extensive commitments with the English Concert in its 40th anniversary season include concert performances of Handel's Theodora at the Barbican, Theatre de Champs Elysées and Carnegie Hall (as well as on tour around the USA) and Wigmore Hall performances featuring Sally Matthews and Lucy Crowe. Highlights of recent seasons include concerts, recordings and touring with The English Concert including a Wigmore Hall residency with Ian Bostridge and appearances at both the 2009 and 2012 BBC Proms. Opera at the Metropolitan (Rodelinda, Cesare, Clemenza di Tito), Chicago Lyric (Rinaldo, Hercules), Canadian (Orfeo) and Bordeaux Operas (Alcina). He took up the post of Chief Conductor of Santa Fe Opera in October 2013. DOROTHEA RÖSCHMANN, SOPRANO Born in Flensburg, Germany, Dorothea Röschmann is one of the most highly respected singers of her generation. In 1995, she gained international recognition singing the role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at the Salzburg Festival, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt. She has since returned regularly to the Festival where her roles have included Donna Elvira, Countess Almaviva, Ilia, Servilia, Nannetta, Pamina and Vitellia, under conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Harding, Charles Mackerras, Christoph von Dohnányi and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In 2012 she made her debut at La Scala, Milan singing Countess Almaviva, and is a regular guest at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, the Wiener Staatsoper, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Her recent concert appearances have included the Berlin Philharmonic with Rattle and Haitink, the Vienna Philharmonic with Harnoncourt, Barenboim and Boulez, the Chicago Symphony with Barenboim, the Munich Philharmonic with Levine, the Cleveland Orchestra with Welser-Möst, the Bayerischer Rundfunk and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra with Harding, the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra with NézetSéguin, and the New York Philharmonic with Alan Gilbert. A prestigious recitalist, Dorothea Röschmann has given acclaimed concerts in venues such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, at the Schwarzenberg Schubertiade and the Edinburgh and Munich Festivals, with Daniel Barenboim at the Deutche Staatsoper, Berlin, and with Mitsuko Uchida at the Lucerne Festival.

Royal_Theodora PB FINAL_PSOC Template 10-12 1/7/14 9:59 AM Page 19

SARAH CONNOLLY, MEZZO-SOPRANO Born in County Durham, mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly studied piano and singing at the Royal College of Music, of which she is now a Fellow. She was made CBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours List. In 2011 she was honoured by the Incorporated Society of Musicians and presented with the Distinguished Musician Award. She is the recipient of the the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2012 Singer Award. Engagements in the 2013-14 season include the title role in Agrippina (Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona); the title role in a new production of Ariodante (Festival d’Aix-enProvence) as well as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier in concert (LSO/Elder & National Symphony Orchestra of Washington/Eschenbach) and Irene in an international concert tour of Theodora (The English Concert/Bicket). In opera, highlights have included Fricka Das Rheingold and Die Walküre (Covent Garden); Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos and Clairon in Capriccio (Metropolitan Opera); the title role in Giulio Cesare and Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde (Glyndebourne Festival); Sesto in La clemenza di Tito (Festival d’Aix-en-Provence); Purcell’s Dido (La Scala and Covent Garden); Gluck’s Orfeo and the title role in The Rape of Lucretia (Bayerische Staatsoper); Phèdre in Hippolyte et Aricie (Paris Opera) and Nerone in L’Incoronazione di Poppea (Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona and Maggio Musicale in Florence). She has also sung the title role in Maria Stuarda and Romeo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Opera North); Komponist (Welsh National Opera) and Octavian (Scottish Opera). A favourite at the English National Opera, her many roles for the company have included Octavian; the title roles in Charpentier’s Medée and Handel's Agrippina, Xerxes, Ariodante and Ruggiero in Alcina; the title role in The Rape of Lucretia, Didon Les Troyens; Roméo, Susie The Silver Tassie and Sesto La clemenza di Tito—for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera.

She has appeared in recital in London and New York and at the Aldeburgh, Cheltenham and Edinburgh Festivals and her many concert engagements include appearances at the Lucerne, Salzburg, Tanglewood and Three Choirs Festivals and at the BBC Proms where, in 2009, she was a memorable guest soloist at The Last Night. Other recent engagements have included The Dream of Gerontius (Boston Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis); A Child of our Time (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Rattle); Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (Leipzig Gewandhausorchester/Chailly and Boston Symphony Orchestra/von Dohnanyi); Das Lied von der Erde (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Harding); Des Knaben Wunderhorn (L’Orchestre des ChampsElysées/Herreweghe); La mort de Cléopâtre (Hallé/Elder) and the Kindertotenlieder (LPO/Jurowski). Committed to promoting new music, her world premiere performances include Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Twice Through the Heart (Schoenberg Ensemble/Knussen); Jonathan Harvey’s Songs of Li Po at the Aldeburgh Festival and, most recently, Sir John Tavener’s Tribute to Cavafy at the Symphony Hall, Birmingham.


2013-14 engagements include Donna Elvira and Countess Almaviva at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin with Daniel Barenboim, Countess Almaviva on tour with the Vienna Staatsoper in Oman, and concerts with Harding and Berlin Philharmonic (Schumann’s Faustszenen), Chicago Symphony and Vladimir Jurowski and Staatskapelle Berlin with Barenboim (Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder).

A prolific recording artist, her many discs include Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (OAE); Des Knaben Wunderhorn (L’Orchestre des Champs-Élysées/Herreweghe—winner of an Edison Award); Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde (LPO/Jurowski), Elgar’s Sea Pictures (Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Wright—nominated for a Grammy Award); Britten's Phaedra (BBC Symphony OrchestraGarnder) and Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Mass in C minor and Haydn’s Scena di Berenice (Gabrieli Consort/McCreesh). Her roles on DVD include Giulio Cesare, Nerone, Clairon and Purcell’s Dido. Her recording of Handel arias with The Sixteen and Harry Christophers was described as “the definition of captivating” and her three solo recital discs The Exquisite Hour, Songs of Love and Loss, and My true love hath my heart have all won universal critical acclaim. She has recorded the soundtrack, Fragments of a Prayer by Sir John Tavener, for the feature film Children of Men. Website: DAVID DANIELS, COUNTERTENOR “To say that he is the most acclaimed countertenor of the day, perhaps the best ever, is to understate his achievement. He is simply a great singer.” - The New York Times American countertenor David 19


Royal_Theodora PB FINAL_PSOC Template 10-12 1/7/14 9:59 AM Page 20

Daniels is known for his superlative artistry, magnetic stage presence and a voice of singular warmth and surpassing beauty, which have helped him redefine the countertenor voice for the modern public. Highly sought after for the works of Handel, Monteverdi, Gluck, Mozart and Britten, David Daniels has appeared on the great operatic stages of the world and highlights have included the title role in Gluck’s Orfeo at Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera and for the Lyric Opera of Chicago; the title roles in Orlando, Tamerlano and Rinaldo at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich; Didymus in Theodora and the title role in Giulio Cesare for the Glyndebourne Festival; Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala Milan, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and at Barcelona’s Gran Teatro del Liceu; Giulio Cesare at the Metropolitan Opera and for the Paris Opera; Bertarido in Rodelinda at the Metropolitan Opera and for the San Fransisco Opera; the title role in Radamisto, Roberto in Vivaldi’s Griselda and the role of Oscar Wilde in Theodore Morrison’s new opera Oscar in Santa Fe and the title role in Radamisto and Arsace in Partenope in Vienna. In the present season he returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Prospero in the Baroque “pasticcio” The Enchanted Island, to the Gran Teatro del Liceu as Ottone in Agrippina and he will tour the U.S. with the English Concert and Harry Bicket singing Didymus in Theodora, a role for which he has been much acclaimed. As much at home in recital as on the opera stage, David Daniels is much admired for his performances of lieder and art song. He has given recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall; the Salle Gaveau in Paris; New York’s Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall and in the Walter Reade Theater at the Lincoln Center; at Munich’s Prinzregententheater; Vienna’s Konzerthaus; Barcelona’s Gran Teatro del Liceu; Atlanta’s Spivey Hall and in Ann Arbor; Chicago; Lisbon; Toronto Vancouver; Washington and at the Edinburgh, Tanglewood and Ravinia Festivals. In concert he has toured extensively with long-time collaborator Harry Bicket and The English Concert, performing in London, Toulouse, Vienna, Munich, Vancouver, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. He has also appeared with the Berlin, Philadelphia, St Louis, Seattle and New York Philharmonic Orchestras with such conductors as James Levine, Sir Andrew Davis, Bernard Labadie, Emmanuelle Haïm, Christophe Rousset and Fabio Biondi. A prolific recording artist, David Daniels’ latest release is a collection of Bach’s Sacred Arias and Cantatas conducted


by Harry Bicket with The English Concert for Virgin Classics. His other recordings include Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with soprano Dorothea Röschmann conducted by Fabio Biondi; Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’été with John Nelson; Nerone in L'incoronazione di Poppea with Ivor Bolton and Didymus in Theodora with William Christie. He has also recorded the title role in Handel’s Rinaldo on the Decca label opposite Cecilia Bartoli with Christopher Hogwood which received a Gramophone Editor’s Choice Album of the Year award in 2002. Soon to be released is his recording of the role of Arsemenes in Serse with Christian Curnyn and the Early Opera Company for Chandos. Honored by the music world for his unique achievements, David Daniels has been the recipient of two of classical music’s most significant awards: Musical America's Vocalist of the Year for 1999 and the 1997 Richard Tucker Award. He was also the recipient of an Opera News Award in 2013. ANDREW KENNEDY, TENOR Andrew Kennedy studied at King's College, Cambridge and the Royal College of Music in London. He was a member of the Young Artists Programme at Covent Garden and a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist. He won the prestigious Royal Philharmonic SocietyYoung Artists Award in 2006. Highlights in his operatic career have included Tom Rakewell The Rake’s Progress (La Scala, La Monnaie and Opéra de Lyon); Tamino The Magic Flute (English National Opera, Opéra Toulon); Jacquino Fidelio (Glyndebourne Festival and LSO/Sir Colin Davis); Vere in Billy Budd and Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw (Houston Grand Opera and LSO /Farnes); Tito in La Clemenzo di Tito (Opéra de Lyon, Oper Frankfurt); Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia (Welsh National Opera and ENO) Oedipus in Oedipus Rex for Den Norske Opera and Ferrando in Cosi fan Tutte (Teatro Reggio di Torino and Glyndeboune Tour). In concert, Andrew appears regularly with the LSO, LPO, Philharmonia, RLPO, Hallé and all the major BBC Orchestras and has also appeared with the Tonhalle Zürich, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Bamberg Symphoniker, Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Monteverdi Choir and orchestra, and the Helsinki Philharminic, with conductors including Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Mark Elder, Esa-Pekka Salonen,

Royal_Theodora PB FINAL_PSOC Template 10-12 1/7/14 9:59 AM Page 21

Future performances include, Britten’s War Requiem with BBC Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Philharmonic, Mozart’s Requiem with the Bergen Philharmonic, Bach’s Collegium Japan Masaaki Suzuki, Christmas Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham, a world tour of Handel’s Theodora with the English Concert, and Harry Bicket, a concert performance as Pang in Turandot with Scottish Opera at Usher Hall, Edinburgh and Messiah in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne with Matthew Halls.

Operatic appearances have included Giulio Cesare and Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; L’Allegro, Zebul (Jephtha), Publio (La clemenza di Tito), Ariodates (Xerxes) and Kolenaty (The Makropoulos Case) for the English National Opera; Radamisto for the Opera de Marseille; Orlando with the Gabrieli Consort; Leporello (Don Giovanni) for the Scottish Opera and the Montréal Opera; Britten’s Curlew River for the Edinburgh Festival; Guglielmo and Don Alfonso (Cosi fan tutte), Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Leporello, Dulcamara (L’elisir d’amore), Zebul and Sharpless (Madame Butterfly) for Welsh National Opera; and Agrippina for the Deutsche Staatsoper, Berlin. He made his debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago as Major General Stanley (The Pirates of Penzance) and returned as Ko-Ko (The Mikado) with Sir Andrew Davis. With William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, Neal has sung in Theodora (Paris and Salzburg) and in the Aix-nProvence Festival production of Charpentier’s David et Jonathas (Aix, Edinburgh and New York), which is available on DVD.


Gianandrea Noseda, David Robertson, Daniele Gatti, Daniel Harding, Thierry Fisher, Vladimir Jurowski, Sir Neville Marriner and Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Recent appearances at the BBC Proms include Finzi’s Intimations of Immortality (BBCSO/Daniel); Hymnus Paradisi (BBCSO/Brabbins); Britten’s Serenade with Edward Gardner and the Nash Ensemble, a live televised performance of Sullivan’s The Yeoman of the Guard (BBC Concert Orchestra/Jane Glover) and Elgar’s Spirit of England (BBCSO/Bêhlolávek) in the 2007 Last Night of the Proms. He gives regular recitals with Malcolm Martineau, Iain Burnside, Julius Drake and Eugene Asti and appears regularly at the Wigmore Hall and on BBC Radio 3.

His upcoming engagements include the Barbican Centre production of Curlew River at St Giles, Cripplegate, and his return to both English National Opera and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

NEAL DAVIES, BASS Neal Davies studied at King's College, London, and the RAM, and won the Lieder Prize at the 1991 Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. He has appeared with the Oslo Philharmonic under Jansons, the BBCSO under Boulez, the Cleveland and Philharmonia Orchestras under Dohnanyi, the COE under Harnoncourt, the OAE under Brüggen, the Gabrieli Consort under McCreesh, the Hallé under Elder, Concerto Köln under Bolton, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with Adam Fischer, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra with Edward Gardner, and the London Symphony and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras under Harding. He has been a regular guest of the Edinburgh Festival and the BBC Proms. His wide discography includes Messiah, Theodora, Saul and Creation (Gramophone Award 2008) under McCreesh, Jenufa and Makropulos Case under Mackerras, Barber’s Vanessa under Slatkin, Messiah under René Jacobs, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony under Osmo Vänskä, the Hyperion Complete Schubert Edition with Graham Johnson and Britten’s Billy Budd with Daniel Harding (Grammy Award, 2010).

THE CHOIR OF TRINITY WALL STREET JULIAN WACHNER, DIRECTOR OF MUSIC AND ARTS Trinity Wall Street is an Episcopal parish that has been a part of New York City since 1697. Located in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district, Trinity has created a dynamic home for great music. Serving as director of Trinity’s Music and the Arts Program—as well as principal conductor of the Grammy®-nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street, period-instrument Trinity Baroque Orchestra and contemporary-music ensemble-in-residence NOVUS NY—Julian Wachner also oversees all liturgical, professional and community Music and Arts programming at Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel. The music at Trinity ranges from large-scale oratorios to chamber music, from intimate a cappella singing to jazz improvisation. All concerts at Trinity Wall Street are professionally filmed and webcast live at The Grammy®-nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street is the premier vocal ensemble at Trinity Wall Street. Under the direction of Julian Wachner, the Choir leads the liturgical music at Trinity Church during Sunday services, performs in concerts throughout the year, and has made world-class recordings for Naxos and Musica Omnia. It is 21


Royal_Theodora PB FINAL_PSOC Template 10-12 1/7/14 9:59 AM Page 22

both a beloved church choir, singing favorite Anglican hymns and historic sacred music, and one of New York City’s most acclaimed professional vocal ensembles. The choir is increasingly in demand around the world, and this season sees the ensemble performing at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, BAM, Paris’ Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

and London’s Barbican Hall. All concerts at Trinity Wall Street are professionally filmed and webcast live at

THE ENGLISH CONCERT Harry Bicket, Director/harpsichord VIOlIN Nadja Zwiener (leader) Sophie Barber Therese Timoney Silvia Schweinberger Almut Schlicker SECONd VIOlIN Iona Davies Tuomo Suni Elizabeth MacCarthy Persephone Gibbs VIOla Alfonso Leal del Ojo Mark Braithwaithe Oliver Wilson

CEllO Joseph Crouch Piroska Baranyay

HORN Ursula Paludan Monberg Martin Lawrence

dOuBlE BaSS Peter McCarthy

TRuMpET Mark Bennett Stian Aareskjold

FluTE Lisa Beznosiuk OBOE Katharina Spreckelsen Hilary Stock

THEORBO William Carter ORGaN Julian Wachner

The English Concert Management Chief Executive Gijs Elsen Orchestra Manager Sarah Fenn Audience Development Manager Zara June Roelse Development Manager Alan Moore

BaSSOON Giorgio Mandolesi Sally Jackson

THE CHOIR OF TRINITY WALL STREET Julian Wachner, Director of Music and the Arts SOPRANO Sarah Brailey Linda Lee Jones Sherezade Panthaki Molly Quinn Melanie Russell Elizabeth Weigle Elena Williamson

ALTO Melissa Attebury Luthien Brackett Eric Brenner Marguerite Krull Deborah Wong

Credit: Thomas McCargar, Trinity Choir Contractor 22

TENOR Eric Dudley Andrew Fuchs Matthew Hensrud Timothy Hodges Steven Caldicott Wilson

BASS Adam Alexander Dashon Burton Kelvin Chan Christopher Herbert Steven Hrycelak Thomas McCargar Jonathan Woody

Handel's Theodora Program Book  

Monday, January 27, 2014 Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

Handel's Theodora Program Book  

Monday, January 27, 2014 Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall