Pre-concert guided tour: A castle for education (guided tour in Ger/Eng) // 6.30pm // Francke Foundations, Historical Orphanage // Organised by: Francke Foundations //
Tickets: Visitors with a concert ticket pay just a €2 supplement for the guided tour in the Information Centre of Francke’s Home (duration: 30 min. approx.)
With Fernando, Re di Castiglia, a fragment of an opera by Handel will be raised from oblivion. It was under this title that the composer began to set to music the story of a power struggle between the king of Portugal and his son, in which the king of Castile, Fernando, intervenes as an intermediary. It is the modern subject – the portrayal of a conflict between father and son in the ruling family, with its parallels to the situation in England at the time the opera was being written, the scene of the action, Portugal, a traditional ally of England, and the resolving of the conflict thanks to the intervention of a ruler of Spain, an equally traditional enemy of England and Portugal – that probably moved Handel during the process of composition to relocate the action to an innocuous oriental milieu and to change the names of virtually all the characters. Since 2015, Opera Settecento has specialised in unearthing rarely or never previously performed operas. For the fourth time, after major successes in the past few years, the London-based ensemble under the dynamic direction of Leo Duarte is back in Halle to bring another unknown work by Handel to the stage. For the singing, they are supported on the one hand by established soloists, such as this year by countertenor Owen Willetts, who has previously performed numerous Handel roles in renowned opera houses in Europe, Australia and the USA; but young singers, winners of the well-known Handel Singing Competition in London, will also be taking part, such as Helen Charlston, who made her successful debut in Halle last year.