Handel’s Hanoverian Heritage

St George’s Church in Mayfair is the hub for the annual celebrations to commemorate the life and work of the great maestro

by Janice Liverseidge

The great composer George Frideric Handel first came to London in the reign of Queen Anne, settling in Brook Street in 1723 and remaining there until his death in 1759. It was here that he wrote many of his most famous works, including Music for the Royal Fireworks and Messiah

The London Handel Festival is an annual celebration of the life and work of this extraordinary man at venues across the capital, with a base at St George’s Hanover Square, the Mayfair church where Handel himself worshipped. 

The 2020 festival takes ‘Handel and the Hanoverians’ as its theme and explores the links between the composer and the reigning Hanoverian monarchy, whose patronage he enjoyed and to whom he dedicated much of his music. The festival has a packed calendar of events that includes grand oratorio, intimate chamber recitals, guided walks and insight talks – and it will delve into the rich variety of compositional output that Handel dedicated to his royal patrons.

This year’s highlights include the rarely heard oratorio The Triumph of Time and Truth and the serenata Parnasso in Festa, written for the Princess Royal’s wedding. Other events include Opera Settecento’s Fernando and Princely Patronage concerts with John Andrews and the Brook Street Band.  

The acclaimed Handel Singing Competition, now in its 19th year,  is one of the world’s leading platforms for emerging talent, with nearly 190 applicants from 32 countries this year – both the semi-final and final are open to the public. Back by popular demand is a ‘Come and Sing’ event, a wonderful opportunity to perform the Coronation Anthems with the Festival’s Musical Director, Laurence Cummings.

Westminster was not just the place that Handel called home, many of his works were also premiered at major West End theatres, including Covent Garden and the King’s Theatre. The composer was buried at Westminster Abbey, where his memorial still stands – a Westminster resident through and through!

For more information and to book tickets visit  https://www.london-handel-festival.com

Copyright 2020: Janice Liverseidge, livinglondontours@gmail.com 

Handel Festival 2020

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