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The Guardian festival blog: Belshazzar review – superb UK return for Handel’s biblical oratorio | Music


A collaboration between the Grange festival and the choir and orchestra of the Sixteen, Handel’s 1744 oratorio Belshazzar is being given its first UK staging in more than 30 years in a production by Daniel Slater conducted by Harry Christophers. A work of considerable grandeur, it weaves together material from the biblical Book of Daniel and the Greek historian Herodotus. It depicts the destruction of the Babylonian empire by Persian king Cyrus the Great, and the subsequent release of Babylon’s captive Jewish population, who are forced into exile by ruler Belshazzar’s grandfather Nebuchadnezzar.

Slater draws on both ancient and modern imagery. Babylon, impressively designed by Robert Innes Hopkins, is dominated by an immense ziggurat reminiscent both of Breughel’s Tower of Babel and a skyscraper. Robert Murray’s bisexual Belshazzar presides over decadent, transgressive orgies, while Cyrus (Christopher Ainslie) and his…



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Straight from The Guardian
(image courtesy of http://www.rosestallard.com/)

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