Händel: Il Trionfo


7:00 pm - 10:00 pm CEST

Göttingen Stadthalle
Albaniplatz 2
Lower Saxony
Landkreis Göttingen

Box Office / Ticket Information



Louise Kemény Soprano | Bellezza
Em?ke Baráth Soprano | Piacere
Xavier Sabata Counter-tenor | Disinganno
Emanuel Tomljenovic Tenor | Tempo

FestspielOrchester Göttingen

George Petrou Musical Director

Folkert Uhde Staging, Video
Ilka Seifert Direction
Jörg Bittner Lighting

How should we live? That is the question raised in this oratorio. Here there is the young self, the “beauty” (Bellezza), who has to choose between a hedonistic lifestyle and asceticism. Three allegorical figures – “time” (Tempo), “disillusionment” (Disinganno) and “pleasure” (Piacerere) – whisper in her ear. Would she prefer to dash around in the glittery here and now or set out in search of true, profound values?

That Piacere draws the short straw at the end and Christian morality prevails is due to the work’s librettist: Cardinal Benedetto Panfili. He was one of Handel’s most important patrons in Rome and provided texts for two of his oratorios while Handel was in Italy in his early 20s. However, even then Panfili represented a church that did not always exemplify what it preached. In any case, rumination and renunciation were not exactly among the activities of the exclusive circle, the “Accademia dell’Arcadia”, in which the cardinal spent his free time. Named after the idyllic Greek landscapes of Arcadia, noble and clerical dignitaries regularly met here in their palaces and gardens to clear their minds through shepherd’s tales – a term which can be traced back to the shepherd’s poetry of Handel’s time. The rich alleviated their boredom by idealizing the simple life of shepherds through poetry. Hence, the Arcadians dressed up with staff and pouch and played out country living.

George Frideric Handel was also a guest in this illustrious circle – his Roman patrons invited him regularly. For scintillating improvisations on the organ and pianistic repartee, he gained access to an exclusive network and support for new works, such as his first oratorio. He was not intimidated by the pointed finger raised by the cardinal texts. His work rather evokes associations with Arcadian walks: the imagination can wander in the enchanting solos of the oboe, just as when the shepherd lets his shawm sing out. But there is room in the oratorio for more than just pensive tones. The music is an entrancing triumph for beauty itself, which denies itself neither pleasure nor the search for truths.

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