Alexander’s Feast by Handel
October 29, 2016 • 4:00 • Church of the Redeemer • 222 S. Palm Ave • Downtown SRQ
Alexander’s Feast is an oratorio with music by George Frederic Handel. The work set to a libretto by Newburgh Hamilton. Handel composed the music in January 1736, and the work received its premiere at the Covent Garden Theatre, London, on February 19, 1736. A celebratory banquet is the scene after Alexander the Great’s conquest of Persia. Alexander, with his mistress Thaïs at his side, is charmed by the musician Timotheus, who by the sheer power of music arouses a wide range of emotions from charmed to intoxicated, saddened and love-sick to rage and fury. Fortunately, St Cecilia, the patron saint of music, is on hand at the end to set it all straight. Maestro Joseph Caulkins conducts Key Chorale singers with guest soloists Christina Bristow, Brad Diamond, and Todd William Donovan and the Key Chorale Orchestra.
Learn more about Alexander’s Feast and the historical events that inspired the libretto.
Burning of Persepolis “When the king [Alexander] had caught fire at their words, all leaped up from their couches and passed the word along to form a victory procession in honour of Dionysus. Promptly, many torches were gathered. Female musicians were present at the banquet, so the king led them all out for the comus to the sound of voices and flutes and pipes, Thaïs the courtesan leading the whole performance. She was the first, after the king, to hurl her blazing torch into the palace. As the others all did the same, immediately the entire palace area was consumed, so great was the conflagration. It was remarkable that the impious act of Xerxes, king of the Persians, against the acropolis at Athens should have been repaid in kind after many years by one woman, a citizen of the land which had suffered it, and in sport”. ~ Diodorus Siculus
This concert is the culmination of the Sarasota Choral Festival, a community event open to singers high school age and older. Last year, 200 voices participated in the festival, and this year, Key Chorale is delighted to present the Festival as part of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota’s two-week celebration of arts and culture, InspireSarasota!
Artistic Director Joseph Caulkins extends his personal invitation to all of Sarasota’s choral groups to join our celebration of choral music in this important community outreach. There are no auditions required; if you would like to participate in the Festival please CLICK HERE for registration information and festival schedule.