Exploring Handel’s music in concert

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I hope that offering excerpts of various works will tempt you into a concert hall for some of the most beautiful music ever written, if you weren’t already marking your calendar! I’m starting a bit late in the season, October 2023. There is Handel to be heard at Bayreuth in September ….

This post will stay a work in progress. I put the list together to help myself so that I will catch performances whenever possible, and to help other Handel fans find concerts to attend. If I’ve missed something – as I surely have – please share information by writing in the “Leave a reply” section at the end of this post. Note that most links are affiliate links and will generate a small commission for me if you are so kind as to purchase starting directly from my page. Where my affiliate sites don’t provide buying opportunities, I’ve provided theater links, so no matter, you can quickly get tickets to a fabulous evening of heavenly music.

Operas and Oratorios, perhaps Serenatas

The majority of Handel’s works are for voice. His choruses and his solo arias are surely as sublime as music can be. More often presented in concert style rather than staged and costumed; if you care, make sure the performance will be what you expect. For me, any chance to hear this exquisite music skillfully presented on stage is something to jump at.

  • Theodora, Vienna, MuseumsQuartier, October 19 to 29, 2023, Bejun Mehta, La Folia Barockorchester, Arnold Schönberg Chor. Theodora: Jacquelyn Wagner. Preview Jacquelyn Wagner singing an aria of a different Handel work: “Mi restano le lagrime” from Alcina
  • Israel in Egypt, New York, Lincoln Center, October 25 and 26, 2023, Jeannette Sorrell, New York Philharmonic, Apollo’s Fire Singers, with Amanda Forsythe. A delightful group and a concert I’d recommend. A very brief preview of Jeannette Sorrell conducting Apollo’s Fire in this work is here. But also see below for JEG in Barcelona in March.
  • Orlando, Madrid, Teatro Real, October 31 to November 12, 2023, Ivor Bolton. Orlando: Christophe Dumaux
  • Jeptha, London, Covent Garden, November 8-24, 2023, Laurence Cummings. Jephtha: Allan Clayton. You can hear Allan Clayton sing “Waft her, Angels” on youtube. The aria is of a father concerning his daughter but I never hear it without thinking of my beloved mother – and fighting tears. The aria is not tragic in tone, but rather quite moving with its deep and tender love.
  • Aci, Galatae e Polifemo, Vienna, MuseumsQuartier, January 25, 2024, René Jacobs, Kammerorchester Basel. Read about it.
  • Italian Cantatas, Montpellier, Opéra Comédie, February 2, 2024, Philippe Jaroussky, Ensemble Artaserse
  • Rinaldo, Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, February 2, 2024, Thibault Noally, Les Accents. Rinaldo: Carlo Vistoli
  • Rinaldo, Barcelona, Palau de la Música, February 6, 2024, Thibault Noally, Les Accents. Rinaldo: Carlo Vistoli
  • Alcina, Sevilla, Teatro de la Maestranza, February 6, 8 and 10, 2024, Andrea Marcon, Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla. Alcina: Jone Martínez. For a little preview of the opera, hear Amanda Forsythe toss off one of Alcina’s arias, “Tornami a vagheggiar” with her so-supple soprano, and remember you can hear Amanda at Lincoln Center in October. Then preview Jone Martinez’s bright and firm soprano in an aria from Messiah, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion.”
  • Theodora, Sydney, Sydney Opera House, February 8 and 9, 2024, Erin Helyard, Orchestra of the Antipodes, Cantillation. Theodora: Samantha Clarke
  • Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, Vienna, MuseumsQuartier, February 27, 2024, Rubén Dubrovsky, Bach Consort Wien. While youtube can offer other performances of the Bach Consort Wien led by Rubén Dubrovsky – their Polifemo (by Porpora, not Handel) is a favorite of mine – for this lovely, first oratorio of Handel’s, I offer a preview with the exquisite Julia Lezhneva singing the final aria, “Tu del ciel ministro eletto.”
  • Hercules, Berlin, Schiller-theater, seven dates from March 3 – April 5, 2024, David Bates. Hercules: Brandon Cedel
  • Israel in Egypt, Barcelona, Palau de la Música, March 18, 2024, John Eliot Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir. They made a recording in 2006 that is glorious perfection How marvelous it would be to hear them this season in a live performance.
  • Flavio, Re de’ Longobardi, Vienna, MuseumsQuartier, April 17, 2024, Benjamin Bayl, Concerto Köln, with Julia Lezhneva singing Emilia, a role first sung by Francesca Cuzzoni (1723). The opera has been too rarely presented, but you can hear one of Emilia’s arias, “Paro, si, ma non so poi,” by Lena Lootens.
  • Berenice, Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, May 21, 2024, Francesco Corti, Il Pomo d’Oro. Berenice: Sandrine Piau. I would so love to hear Sandrine Piau on stage.


Léa Desandre will sing the title role in productions directed by William Christie. Talk about ideal! It causes me physical pain to know I must miss these October performances. Can you go? You should if you can! And then tell me about it. Franco Fagioli sings the title role in November – with Il Pomo d’Oro – and I have a slight chance of being there.

  • Philharmonie (Grande salle Pierre Boulez), October 2, 2023
  • Geneva: Grand Théâtre de Genève, October 5, 2023
  • Versailles: Chateau de Versailles, October 8, 2023
  • Dijon: Opéra de Dijon, October 15, 2023
  • Paris: Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, November 7, 2023

Giulio Cesare in Egitto

This gorgeous oratorio has many beautiful arias. If you don’t know the work, get a little sample by listening to Sabine Devieilhe sing “Se pietà di me non senti.” Then get a ticket! My hope would be to hear Pretty Yende in Frankfurt or Lisette Oropesa in Paris, as I haven’t heard them in live performance.

Gianluca Capuano will lead Les Musiciens du Prince-Monaco with Cleopatra sung by Cecilia Bartoli in performances in three cities this October:

  • Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, October 23 and 25, 2023
  • Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, 27 October 2023,
  • Amsterdam, Concertgebouw, 30 October 2023

There are two other productions on the calendar:

  • Paris, Palais Garnier, ten dates available from January 20 – February 16, 2024, Harry Bicket. Cleopatra: Lisette Oropesa
  • Frankfurt, Oper, eleven dates from March 24 – May 18, 2024, Simone Di Felice, Cleopatra: Pretty Yende


Giovanni Antonini will lead Il Giardino Armonico and Kammerorchester Basel, with Franco Fagioli singing the title role, in three cities this May. Definitely something to aim for!

  • Amsterdam, Concertgebouw, May 25, 2024
  • Barcelona, Palau de la Música, May 29, 2024
  • Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, May 31, 2024


I’ve overheard people who have clearly never listened to the work let it be known they avoid Messiah as something religious, heavy, somber. If you, my reader, echo that sentiment, I beg you to sit and listen to this work of outstanding beauty and JOY. I am not religious, and I listen to Messiah any time of year. Whether you already love this work or not, you may enjoy reading an article from Smithsonian Magazine about Handel and this masterpiece.

Händel-Festspiele Karlsruhe 16 February – 4 March 2024

Siroe, Re di Persia and Ottone, Re di Germania will be presented on several festival evenings, along with varied programs: Handel’s birthday party, performances by teachers at the International Handel Academy and other mixed shows. See the full program here.

Instrumental works and mixed programs

I may focus on Handel’s vocal music, but clearly he was an absolute master of Baroque instrumental music: chamber music, orchestral music, harpsichord pieces. I have many cds of the Royal Fireworks and Water music! As well as many concertos…

What’s missing? Anthems!

For these, you might check churches in your region or wherever you are traveling, and perhaps you’ll get lucky!

Let me know what else I’ve missed here.

The “Leave a reply” area below is waiting for your comments – as am I!

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