Performance Sunday, February 2, 2014 | 2 PM

The English Concert

Handel's Theodora (opera in concert)

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Early-music specialist Harry Bicket returns to Carnegie Hall with The English Concert for the next installment in their Handel project—the rarely heard oratorio Theodora. Featuring some of the composer’s most glorious music, this tragic work depicts the self-sacrificial love between a Christian virgin and a Roman imperial bodyguard, sung here by vocal greats Dorothea Röschmann and David Daniels. This deeply moving oratorio serves as a timeless parable of spiritual resistance to tyranny and an indictment of persecution, topics that still resonate with audiences today.


  • The English Concert
    Harry Bicket, Artistic Director and Conductor
  • Dorothea Röschmann, Soprano (Theodora)
  • Sarah Connolly, Mezzo-Soprano (Irene)
  • David Daniels, Countertenor (Didymus)
  • Kurt Streit, Tenor (Septimius)
  • Neal Davies, Bass-Baritone (Valens)
  • The Choir of Trinity Wall Street
    Julian Wachner, Director of Music and the Arts


  • HANDEL Theodora (concert performance)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately four hours, including two 20-minute intermissions.


  • The English Concert

    The 2013-2014 season marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of The English Concert. With an unsurpassed reputation for inspiring performances of Baroque and Classical music, the ensemble ranks among the finest chamber orchestras in the world.

    Created by Trevor Pinnock in 1973, The English Concert appointed Harry Bicket as its artistic director in 2007, and has toured with him to Europe, the US, and the Middle and Far East. Mr. Bicket is renowned for his work with singers, and The English Concert's vocal collaborators in recent seasons have included Mark Padmore, Ian Bostridge, Vesselina Kasarova, Lucy Crowe, Elizabeth Watts, Carolyn Sampson, Danielle de Niese, Andreas Scholl, and Sarah Connolly.

    Part of the Arts Council National Portfolio program, The English Concert has toured widely throughout England, and in the 2013-2014 season the ensemble appears in Gateshead, Ryedale-North Yorkshire, Hereford, Birmingham, Warwick, Bristol, Aldeburgh, and Southampton. Recent highlights include European and US tours with Alice Coote, Sara Mingardo, Anna Caterina Antonacci, David Daniels, and Andreas Scholl, and the orchestra's first tour to mainland China.

    The English Concert enjoys a strong relationship with audiences in North America, having recently performed in Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Boston, Ann Arbor, and New York. Following the success of Handel's Radamisto last season, Carnegie Hall has commissioned one Handel opera each season from the orchestra, and future seasons will feature performances of Handel's Alcina and Orlando.

    The English Concert's discography includes more than 100 recordings with Trevor Pinnock for Deutsche Grammophon / Archiv, as well as a series of critically acclaimed CDs for Harmonia Mundi with violinist Andrew Manze. Recordings with Harry Bicket have been widely praised, including Lucy Crowe's debut solo recital, Il caro Sassone. In October, EMI Classics released Sound the Trumpet, a recording of Baroque music for trumpet with Alison Balsom. A new recording with mezzo-soprano Alice Coote that features music by Handel will be released in early 2014.

    The English Concert works with several distinguished guest directors, including violinist Fabio Biondi and harpsichordists Laurence Cummings and Kenneth Weiss.

    Harry Bicket

    Renowned as an opera and concert conductor, Harry Bicket is especially noted for his interpretation of Baroque and Classical repertoire. He became artistic director of The English Concert in 2007, and was also recently appointed chief conductor of the Santa Fe Opera.

    Mr. Bicket's engagements in the current season include Handel's Agrippina at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu, Handel's Hercules at the Canadian Opera Company, and the first performances at Santa Fe Opera of Beethoven's Fidelio. He also leads The English Concert in its 40th anniversary season, which includes concert performances of Handel's Theodora at the Barbican in London and the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées as well as on tour throughout the US, and performances at London's Wigmore Hall that feature Sally Matthews and Lucy Crowe.

    Highlights of recent seasons include concerts, recordings, and tours with The English Concert, including a residency at Wigmore Hall with Ian Bostridge and appearances at both the 2009 and 2012 BBC Proms. Conducting engagements have included Handel's Rodelinda and Giulio Cesare and Mozart's La clemenza di Tito at the Metropolitan Opera, Handel's Rinaldo and Hercules at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Orfeo at the Canadian Opera Company, and Handel's Alcina at the Opéra National de Bordeaux. In addition, Mr. Bicket has guest-conducted the Chicago and Tokyo symphony orchestras and the Los Angeles and Saint Paul Chamber orchestras.

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  • Dorothea Röschmann

    Dorothea Röschmann is among the most admired singers of her generation. Her many roles at the Salzburg Festival include Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Countess Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Ilia (Idomeneo), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), and Vitellia (La clemenza di Tito). At the Metropolitan Opera, she has sung Susanna, Pamina, Donna Elvira, and Ilia; and at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, her roles have included Pamina, Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), and the Countess. At La Scala in Milan, she has sung the Countess as well as Donna Elvira with the company on tour to Moscow at the Bolshoi. At the Vienna State Opera, she has appeared as the Countess and Susanna; at the Berlin State Opera, she has sung Ännchen (Der Freischütz), Pamina, Fiordiligi, Donna Elvira, Susanna, Micaëla (Carmen), Eva (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), and Elsa (Lohengrin).

    This season, Ms. Röschmann sings the Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier) at the Berlin State Opera with Sir Simon Rattle and the Countess in staged performances of Le nozze di Figaro with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel. Her future plans include returns to the Bavarian State Opera, Royal Opera House, and Vienna State Opera.

    Recent concert appearances include performances with the Berliner Philharmoniker led by Sir Simon Rattle and Bernard Haitink; Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with Pierre Boulez, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and Daniel Barenboim; Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Mr. Barenboim; Munich Philharmonic with James Levine; The Cleveland Orchestra with Franz Welser-Möst; Vienna Symphony Orchestra with Georges Prêtre; Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala with Pinchas Steinberg and Mr. Barenboim; Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra with Yannick Nézet-Séguin; Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra with Daniel Harding; and the New York Philharmonic with Sir Colin Davis.

    Forthcoming concert engagements include performances with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert, Berliner Philharmoniker and Mr. Harnoncourt, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Mr. Nézet-Séguin, and Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala with Mr. Harding. Recital appearances include Antwerp, Lisbon, Madrid, Cologne, Brussels, New York, London, Vienna, and Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, as well as the Edinburgh, Munich, Schwetzingen, and Schwarzenberg festivals.

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  • Sarah Connolly

    Sarah Connolly studied piano and voice at the Royal College of Music. She was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire at the 2010 New Year's Honours List, and in 2011, she was honored by the Incorporated Society of Musicians and presented with the Distinguished Musician Award. In addition, she was the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society's 2012 Singer Award.

    Engagements in the 2013-2014 season include the title role in Handel's Agrippina at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, and the title role in Handel's Ariodante in a new production at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. Concert engagements include Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier with the National Symphony Orchestra and Christoph Eschenbach and with the London Symphony Orchestra and Mark Elder, Mahler's Symphony No. 2 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Christoph von Dohnányi, Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis, and Mendelssohn's Elijah with the Filarmonica della Scala and Daniel Harding. Recent operatic highlights include Fricka in Das Rheingold and Die Walküre at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Dido in Dido and Aeneas at La Scala and Covent Garden; the Composer in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos and Clairon in Capriccio at the Metropolitan Opera; Phèdre in Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie at Opéra national de Paris; the title role in Giulio Cesare and Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde at the Glyndebourne Festival; Sesto in La clemenza di Tito at the Aix-en-Provence Festival; Gluck's Orfeo and the title role in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia at the Bavarian State Opera; and Nerone in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea at the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

    Additional highlights include the title role in Donizetti's Maria Stuarda and Romeo in Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi at Opera North, the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos at Welsh National Opera, and Octavian at Scottish Opera. At the English National Opera, her roles have included Octavian; the title roles in Charpentier's Médée and in Handel's Agrippina, Xerxes, and Ariodante; Ruggiero in Handel's Alcina; and Didon in Les Troyens. She has appeared in recital in London and New York and at the Aldeburgh and Edinburgh festivals.

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  • David Daniels

    American countertenor David Daniels is known for his superlative artistry, magnetic stage presence, and a voice of singular warmth and surpassing beauty. Highly sought-after for his performances of works by Handel, Monteverdi, Gluck, Mozart, and Britten, Mr. Daniels has appeared on the great operatic stages of the world. In the 2013-2014 season, his engagements include Ottone in Handel's Agrippina at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu, Prospero in the Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island at the Metropolitan Opera, and Lichas in Hercules for the Canadian Opera Company. He also gives solo recitals in Edinburgh, Chicago, Moscow, and Madrid.

    Highlights of the 2012-2013 season included the title role in Giulio Cesare at the Metropolitan Opera, the title role in Radamisto at the Theater an der Wien, and the title role in the world premiere of Theodore Morrison's new opera about Oscar Wilde, Oscar, in Santa Fe, which earned him rave reviews. Other recent successes have included the title role in Gluck's Orfeo at Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago; the title roles in Orlando, Tamerlano, and Rinaldo at the Bavarian State Opera; Didymus in Theodora and the title role in Giulio Cesare at the Glyndebourne Festival; Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu; the title role in Giulio Cesare at Opéra de Paris; Bertarido in Rodelinda at the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera; the title role in Radamisto and Roberto in Vivaldi's Griselda in Santa Fe; and Arsace in Partenope in Vienna.

    Mr. Daniels has performed recitals in venues that include Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, London's Wigmore Hall, Munich's Prinzregententheater, Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu, and the Salle Gaveau in Paris, as well as at the Edinburgh and Ravinia festivals. He has been the recipient of two of classical music's most significant awards: Musical America's Vocalist of the Year for 1999 and the 1997 Richard Tucker Award.

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  • Kurt Streit

    Renowned as a Mozart specialist, Kurt Streit has in recent years broadened his repertoire to include works by Berg (Lulu at Opéra de Paris), Britten (Death in Venice at Theater an der Wien), Janáček (Kat'a Kabanová in London, Amsterdam, and Brussels; Jenůfa in Chicago and Amsterdam; and From the House of the Dead at the Metropolitan Opera), Wagner (Erik in Der fliegende Holländer in Barcelona and Munich, and Loge in Das Rheingold in Frankfurt and Barcelona), Berlioz (Les Troyens in Geneva and La damnation de Faust in Madrid), Bizet (Carmen with Nikolaus Harnoncourt at the Styriarte Festival in Graz), Weber (Euryanthe in Brussels), and Beethoven (Fidelio in Vienna). His specialties also include Handel (Semele and Tamerlano at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Jephtha and Theodora with Concentus Musicus in Vienna's Musikverein; Rodelinda in Paris, Vienna, and Glyndebourne; and Partenope in Chicago and Vienna, recorded for Chandos), and Monteverdi (Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria and L'incoronazione di Poppea in Berlin, Zurich, and Los Angeles).

    Mr. Streit has performed the title roles in Mozart's La clemenza di Tito and Idomeneo, and has also appeared in numerous productions of Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, and Die Entführung aus dem Serail at opera houses that include the Metropolitan Opera; Vienna State Opera; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; La Scala; Opéra de Paris-Bastille; and Teatro Real in Madrid, as well as in San Francisco, Tokyo, Aix-en-Provence, Chicago, Munich, Berlin, Rome, and Salzburg.

    Mr. Streit has collaborated with the world's foremost conductors, including Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Antonio Pappano, Riccardo Muti, Sir Simon Rattle, Ivor Bolton, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, and Lorin Maazel, and has performed with the major symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Petersburg, Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Boston, Florence, Stockholm, and London.

    Mr. Streit's discography includes complete recordings of Così fan tutte with Daniel Barenboim (Erato) and Sir Simon Rattle (EMI), Die Zauberflöte (L'Oiseau-Lyre), and Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Sony Classical). He recently recorded Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Mr. Rattle and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (EMI), and the Mozart Requiem with Mr. Harnoncourt and Concentus Musicus (BMG).

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  • Neal Davies

    Winner of the Lieder Prize at the 1991 Cardiff Singer of the World competition, Neal Davies has since appeared with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; English National Opera; Scottish Opera; and Welsh National Opera. He is a regular guest at the Edinburgh Festival and the BBC Proms, and has taken part in notable recordings of Handel's Messiah, Saul, and Theodora for Deutsche Grammophon / Archiv with Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort.

    Recent engagements include Handel's Belshazzar with René Jacobs in Aix-en-Provence, Berlin, and Innsbruck; Agrippina for the Berlin State Opera; Ko-Ko in The Mikado for the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Handel's Athalia with Concerto Köln; Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream for Garsington Opera; Ariodates in Xerxes and Kolenaty in The Makropulos Case for the English National Opera; and Zebul in Jephtha, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Dulcamara in L'elisir d'amore, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly for the Welsh National Opera.

    With William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, Mr. Davies has sung in Theodora in Paris and Salzburg, and in Charpentier's David et Jonathas at the Aix-en-Provence Festival and in Edinburgh and New York-a production that is available on DVD. Upcoming engagements include the Barbican Centre's production of Britten's Curlew River at St. Giles Cripplegate and his return to both the English National Opera and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

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  • The Choir of Trinity Wall Street

    The Choir of Trinity Wall Street is the premiere ensemble of the music and arts program at Trinity Church. A Grammy Award-nominated professional ensemble, the choir helps lead Sunday worship at Trinity, and performs concerts of early and contemporary music throughout the fall and spring. Many concerts are webcast on the Internet, and are often heard on WQXR, New York's classical music station. The choir performs with the Trinity Baroque Orchestra as well as with NOVUS NY, a contemporary music ensemble founded by Julian Wachner, Trinity's director of music and the arts.

    Grammy Award-nominated conductor-composer Julian Wachner has appeared with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society, Hong Kong Philharmonic, New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Juilliard Opera Theatre, and The Rolling Stones, as well as at the Lincoln Center, BAM Next Wave, and Spoleto festivals, among many other festivals, orchestras, and opera companies throughout North America. In addition to his duties at Trinity Wall Street, Mr. Wachner is also music director of the Grammy Award-winning Washington Chorus, with which he won ASCAP's Alice Parker Award for adventurous programming in 2011.

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Pre-concert talk starts at 1:00 PM in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage with Benjamin Sosland, The Juilliard School.


Handel's Theodora ("Streams of pleasure ever flowing")
The English Concert | Harry Bicket, Conductor | Sarah Connolly, Mezzo-Soprano

At a Glance

There are a group of composers—Franz Haydn, Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Strauss—who developed an extraordinary style and wrote their greatest and most original masterpieces in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s. Think of Haydn's Creation, Verdi's Otello and Falstaff, and Strauss's Four Last Songs. Handel's Theodora, the next-to-last of his 16 oratorios, belongs among these late masterpieces. Composed in 1749 when Handel was 64 and gradually going blind, it was a vastly different work from the grandiloquent and showily virtuosic music that had made him so popular in England and beyond. Often extremely beautiful in its melodic inspiration, it was also a very subtle and intimate work with a tragic ending and not a trace of bombast. It summed up Handel's mastery of the Baroque forms of aria and chorus, but also broke new ground in its treatment of them. It displayed a mastery of counterpoint—the art of weaving together independent musical lines—that rivaled J. S. Bach at his best. Its story of quietly heroic Christian martyrs diverged from contemporary English taste, and it was a failure at its premiere. Yet it was Handel's personal favorite of his oratorios, and today more and more music lovers would agree with his assessment. As Handel biographer Paul Henry Lang wrote, it "leaves us with a sense of human nobility."
Program Notes


Harry Bicket on the Renewed Interest in Handel's Operas

Countertenor David Daniels on the Popularity of Handel's Operas

Harry Bicket on the Development of Period Instrument Performance

Ticket holders should plan their travel to Carnegie Hall with ample time to allow for Super Bowl Sunday traffic in Midtown Manhattan.
Funding for the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast series is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Robert L. Turner in support of the 2013-2014 season.
This performance is part of Carnegie Classics.

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