Hannah Morrison Soprano
Lenka Cafourková Soprano
Benno Schachtner Alto
Krystian Adam Tenor
Tomáš Král Bass
Jaromír Nosek Bass
Václav Luks Conductor
In Handel’s career, Israel in Egypt is an exception: begun in 1739, only three days after he finished writing Saul, this new oratorio written on sacred texts (like Messiah, but 2 years earlier) was intended to be shown in theatres. What is more, Handel placed 28 choirs and only 4 arias and 3 duets in this composition; an unprecedented balance, which surprised the audience of the first performance, already shocked by this religious music performed in a secular venue like an opera.
The work became a favourite in the following centuries, with large-scale and unifying, almost patriotic, interpretations. Today, Israel in Egypt is mainly a wonderful choral celebration, depicting realistically the Plagues of Egypt and the Crossing of the Red Sea, the waters parted by Moses finally crashing onto Pharaoh’s army: Hollywood before its time assuredly!
Václav Luks and his Collegium 1704 are the interpreters of this work, deploying the wealth of its choral complexity and highlighting Handel’s extraordinary creative palette.
Georg Friedrich Handel (1685-1759)
Israël in Egypt