Notes & Reviews:
In this Glyndebourne production, radical American director Peter Sellar takes George Frideric Handel's penultimate English oratorio - a tale of self-sacrificial love between a Christian virgin and a roman imperial bodyguard in fourth-century enemy-occupied Antioch - and, by resetting it in modern-day America, transforms it into a timeless parable of spiritual resistance to tyranny and persecution.
It is great Handel singing, but then musically and dramatically this production is flawless.
The Financial Times
As one profoundly beautiful aria followed another, the audience sat as if stunned.
William Christie and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment gave this wonderful music - the most transcendental in all Handel (one achingly introspective number after another) - all the room in the world.
Bowing on Blu-ray this 1996 Glyndebourne performance - the first semi-operatic staging - of Handel's penultimate oratorio from 1750 is about a Christian maiden martyred during a 4th-century Roman persecution along with a soldier who chooses to die with her. The music magnificent - brilliantly played by the original- instrument Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment conducted by baroque specialist William Christie - and the singing is superb as well, with soprano Dawn Upshaw a splendid Theodora and counter-tenor David Daniels an excellent Didymus. Also noteworthy are tenor Richard Croft as Didymus' friend Septimius and baritone Frode Olsen as the Roman governor Valens.
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