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News & Reviews

The Boston Globe: Vivid Handel and Haydn chorus lifts ‘Hercules’

By | News & Reviews

When Harry Christophers took over the artistic reins of the Handel and Haydn Society almost a decade ago, he pledged to recommit the group to the music of its namesake composers. No need to search farther afield, the argument went, when there is still plenty of treasure to excavate in one’s own backyard. He might well have had in mind Handel’s remarkably dramatic oratorio “Hercules,” which until this weekend had been left all but untouched by H&H. On Friday night in Symphony Hall, Christophers addressed that absence, leading a performance notable first and foremost for its vibrant choral singing. One…

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Boston Classical Review: H&H’s “Hercules”

By | News & Reviews

Handel’s oratorios, which recast tales of heroic deeds for eighteenth-century English audiences, are products of their time and place. But his Hercules offers a dire warning that still manages to speak across the centuries: Jealousy will drive you mad. Friday night at Symphony Hall, the Handel and Haydn Society and its conductor, Harry Christophers, offered Hercules for the first time in the company’s long history. Capably sung, the oratorio’s message seemed to speak with tragic humility. Thomas Broughton’s libretto actually revolves around the demigod’s emotionally tormented wife, Dejanira. When Hercules is off completing the Twelve Labors, she fears he is…

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The Boston Globe: Handel and Haydn ‘Fairy Queen’ is delightful

By | News & Reviews

Oberon and Titania may be immortal, but Henry Purcell’s “The Fairy Queen” more readily shows its age. The 1692 masque based on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” has both a paper-thin plot and a score that could grow tedious in the wrong hands. Luckily for the Jordan Hall audience Friday night, the Handel and Haydn Society under the baton of artistic director Harry Christophers gave the old Queen the elixir of life. The result was nothing short of magic. The company performed this “Fairy Queen” at Tanglewood and in Rockport last year, but this marked its Boston debut. Its version…

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