Skip links
Loading Events

Saul

A stunning opera production with spectacular scenery and music

Barrie Kosky's award-winning production of Handel's Saul is an operatic experience in a class of its own, with sumptuous period costumes, picturesque tableaux and magnificent music.

"Saul" is the best opera Handel never wrote - an intense, dramatic, magnificent musical tour de force that combines the best of both worlds.

Almost by accident, in 1732 Handel created the genre that would define the rest of his life and career - the oratorio. A few years earlier, Handel had composed his Coronation Anthems for the coronation of George II, and the music's grand, dramatic effect had taken London by storm (many will recognize Zadok the Priest, which was performed at Crown Prince Frederik's wedding in 2004 by Concerto Copenhagen). So when Handel experienced a decline in interest in its Italian operas, it was natural to try something new. And that was the dramatic oratorio. An oratorio typically has a plot, but it is based on biblical events and characters, and therefore inappropriate to present on a theater stage as scenic characters. But it provided an opportunity for music that took the best of both worlds - the intense drama of opera and the grandeur of church anthems. And it was sung in English, not the Italian that was foreign to many.

Handel set music to the Old Testament story of Saul, who becomes so envious of the young David that he cracks and, like another King Lear, descends into a Shakespearean madness. This provides ample opportunity for the intense, dramatic and emotional arias we know from Handel's operas, such as David's aria "Oh Lord, whose mercies numberless" and Michal's "Oh Godlike Youth", both in the first act. And since the action includes both soldiers and large crowds of people paying tribute to both the king and the hero David, there is also room for many magnificent choral movements, including a Hallelujah Chorus that is not inferior to the more famous Hallelujah Chorus in the oratorio "Messiah". And if that's not enough, 'Saul' also features iconic music for orchestra alone. Perhaps the most famous is the Act 3 Death March, which has been used for the funerals of statesmen such as Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln.

Saul is sung by English bass-baritone Christopher Purves, and David by Danish countertenor Morten Grove Frandsen. Star director Barrie Kosky has created the staging, which features lots of dancing and costumes with wow effects, along with spectacular set design and an entire stage floor covered in flickering candles.

In order to fill the entire Opera House with Handel's music, Concerto Copenhagen will provide an orchestra of 43 musicians, which, in addition to strings, consists of flutes, oboes, bassoons, trumpets, trombones, timpani, guitar, harp - and a glockenspiel! All this is led by Lars Ulrik Mortensen.

Saul is sung in English with Danish and English subtitles.

 

A stunning opera production with spectacular scenery and music

Barrie Kosky's award-winning production of Handel's Saul is an operatic experience in a class of its own, with sumptuous period costumes, picturesque tableaux and magnificent music.

"Saul" is the best opera Handel never wrote - an intense, dramatic, magnificent musical tour de force that combines the best of both worlds.

Almost by accident, in 1732 Handel created the genre that would define the rest of his life and career - the oratorio. A few years earlier, Handel had composed his Coronation Anthems for the coronation of George II, and the music's grand, dramatic effect had taken London by storm (many will recognize Zadok the Priest, which was performed at Crown Prince Frederik's wedding in 2004 by Concerto Copenhagen). So when Handel experienced a decline in interest in its Italian operas, it was natural to try something new. And that was the dramatic oratorio. An oratorio typically has a plot, but it is based on biblical events and characters, and therefore inappropriate to present on a theater stage as scenic characters. But it provided an opportunity for music that took the best of both worlds - the intense drama of opera and the grandeur of church anthems. And it was sung in English, not the Italian that was foreign to many.

Handel set music to the Old Testament story of Saul, who becomes so envious of the young David that he cracks and, like another King Lear, descends into a Shakespearean madness. This provides ample opportunity for the intense, dramatic and emotional arias we know from Handel's operas, such as David's aria "Oh Lord, whose mercies numberless" and Michal's "Oh Godlike Youth", both in the first act. And since the action includes both soldiers and large crowds of people paying tribute to both the king and the hero David, there is also room for many magnificent choral movements, including a Hallelujah Chorus that is not inferior to the more famous Hallelujah Chorus in the oratorio "Messiah". And if that's not enough, 'Saul' also features iconic music for orchestra alone. Perhaps the most famous is the Act 3 Death March, which has been used for the funerals of statesmen such as Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln.

Saul is sung by English bass-baritone Christopher Purves, and David by Danish countertenor Morten Grove Frandsen. Star director Barrie Kosky has created the staging, which features lots of dancing and costumes with wow effects, along with spectacular set design and an entire stage floor covered in flickering candles.

In order to fill the entire Opera House with Handel's music, Concerto Copenhagen will provide an orchestra of 43 musicians, which, in addition to strings, consists of flutes, oboes, bassoons, trumpets, trombones, timpani, guitar, harp - and a glockenspiel! All this is led by Lars Ulrik Mortensen.

Saul is sung in English with Danish and English subtitles.

 

Show more
Show less

Details

Details

Date:
March 23, 2024
Timing:
7:30 pm - 10:30 pm
Series:
Event Categories:
,

Location

Opera House, Main Stage
Ekvipagemestervej 10
Copenhagen, Denmark, Denmark
+ Google Maps

Organizer

The Royal Theater

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Clara Cecilie Thomsen, Merab
  • Mirjam Mesak, Michal
  • Christopher Purves, Saul
  • Morten Grove Frandsen, David
  • Benjamin Hulett, Jonathan
  • Michael Kristensen, The Witch of Endor
  • Thomas Cilluffo, Abner/High Priest/Amalekite/Doeg
  • Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Conductor
  • Concerto Copenhagen

CONCERTS

Event Series Event Series: Saul

PROGRAM

HandelSaul, HWV 53