Tuesday, 31. May 2022 19:30 Francke Foundation

Fernando, Re di Castiglia

in memoriam Prof. Dr. Manfred Rätzer (1929–2021)

Leo Duarte Fernando © Agentur

Leo Duarte

George Frideric Handel
Fernando, Re di Castiglia HWV 30, Opera fragment  (after the opera Sosarme)

Oboe Concerto in G minor, HWV 287

Musical director: Leo Duarte (oboe)
Soloists: Francesco Giusti (Fernando), Susanna Fairbairn (Elvida), Nick Scott (Dionisio), Chiara Hendrick (Isabella), Jess Dandy (Sancio), Frederick Long (Altomaro), Charlie Morris (Alfonso)
Opera Settecento

Performance based on the Hallische Händel-Ausgabe in the original Italian

In cooperation with the London Handel Festival
With the kind support of Mitteldeutsche Barockmusik e.V.

Please note the current pandemic-related access restrictions, if applicable. Wearing a mouth-nose protection is recommended.

Live recording by MDR Kultur / MDR Klassik

30, 25 

Pre-concert guided tour: World Knowledge around 1700 // (Ger/Eng guided tour) // 6.30pm // Francke Foundations, Art and Natural History Cabinet // 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 setting 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. After Tamerlano, this fragment is therefore the second most modern subject of all Handel operas. It is precisely this contemporaneity – 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 and his unknown literary assistant during the process of composition to relocate the action to an innocuous oriental milieu and to change the names of virtually all the characters. Consequently, up to the 12th and third-to-last scene of Act 2, the opera was composed under the title Fernando, Re di Castiglia, but was then completed as Sosarme, Re di Media.

Since 2015, Opera Settecento has specialised in unearthing rarely or never previously performed operas. For the fourth time after the major successes of 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, and on the other by young singers, winners of the well-known Handel Singing Competition in London, who will also be taking part.