G.F. Handel: Saul
A dramatic oratorio in three acts (1739)
Music by George Frideric Handel
Libretto by Charles Jennens
Recorded at Glyndebourne Festival, 2015, August 20 and 22.
Performed in English
"A theatrical and musical feast of energetic choruses, surreal choreography and gorgeous singing," wrote The Guardian … “A knockout that brings the work blazingly alive,” enthused The Telegraph … This 2015 Glyndebourne production of Handel’s Saul – directed by Barrie Kosky, Intendant of Berlin’s Komische Oper – proves in no uncertain terms that an oratorio can be staged to stunning theatrical effect.
“There are no rules about what should be staged,” Kosky said as he prepared for Saul. “If you’re surprised and delighted by what a director comes up with, you should celebrate it, whatever it is.”
Kosky took the famous Biblical story and transferred it to a lavishly-realised 18th century – but with bold psychological insights, and a playful sense of irony, that belong firmly to today’s aesthetic.
The cast assembles some of today’s finest Handel singers under the dynamic baton of Ivor Bolton. In the title role of the King of Israel, plagued by destructive jealousy for the young hero David, Christopher Purves gives a performance of unforgettable intensity.
The Independent wrote that: “Musically this evening is well-nigh flawless. No praise too high for the singing of [Iestyn] Davies, [Paul] Appleby, and Purves; of Lucy Crowe and Sophie Bevan as Merab and Michal respectively, and of Benjamin Hullett as a cross between a clown and a soothsayer.”
The programme is a co-production between the Glyndebourne Festival, Francois Roussillon et Associés, Sky Arts and Sonostream.tv, with the participation of ZDF-ARTE YLE.