• Florie Valiquette
    Florie Valiquette
  • Theodora

Saturday 10 April 2021, 7pm
Chapelle royale du Château de Versailles

Florie Valiquette Theodora
Anthea Pichanik Irène
Tim Mead Didymus
Kresimir Spicer Septimius
Andreas Wolf Valens

Le Concert Spirituel, Choir and Orchestra
Hervé Niquet Conductor

A masterpiece of Handel’s twilight

With Theodora, expect baroque fireworks! Aged 64, Handel was at the twilight of his career, but his creative faculty was intact: the subject his penultimate oratorio in 1749 is religious, but it has such dramatic force, that it has often been performed on stage.

Handel's successes in opera seria were already far off and he had mostly composed oratorios in the last ten years, but the dramatic vein was still central to his creativity! With an intensity worthy of the tragedy, Theodore, Virgin and Martyr, written by Corneille a century earlier, Theodora exalts the martyrdom of a Christian virgin from Antioch persecuted by the Romans. As the oratorio unfolds, the heroine loves Didyme (a Roman officer converted to Christianity), escapes Roman orgies, suffers and dies a martyr like her lover, with poignant sincerity.

Handel himself considered Theodora as his favourite oratorio: magnificent arias, rich and powerful orchestration, a grandiose score with virtuoso chorales: it is indeed a masterpiece of Handel’s twilight.