Bachtrack logo

Guide to the London Handel Festival

Biography
Laurence Cummings, Musical Director © Anton Sckl
Laurence Cummings, Musical Director
© Anton Sckl

March 7th – April 16th, 2018

The London Handel Festival runs for six weeks in March and April every year. We present a critically acclaimed season of concerts, talks, walks, recitals and a fully staged opera, all featuring music by George Frideric Handel and his contemporaries. Our base is St.George’s, Hanover Square, in the heart of Mayfair, London, where Handel was a parishioner.

Founded by Denys Darlow in 1978 the Festival has contributed to a Handel revival in the UK, and our major artistic aims have always been to nurture young talent, as Handel himself did, and to explore lesser-known works of the period. In 1981 the London Handel Orchestra and London Handel Singers were established, and in 2002 Laurence Cummings took over as Musical Director. Catherine Hodgson was Festival Director for 17 years, and Samir Savant has held this position since 2016.

Each year the Festival stages the prestigious Handel Singing Competition which brings together the very best young singers from around the world. Past finalists are invited back to sing on a regular basis at the Festival, and many of them have gone on to glittering international careers, including Iestyn Davies, Ruby Hughes and Lucy Crowe.

The Festival also promotes young talent by providing a platform for emerging and exciting baroque performers and groups, including those at the major London conservatoires. We present interesting and informative programmes each year, designed to appeal to the broadest audiences, from Handel aficionados to those new to baroque music, and all are welcome.

The Festival is also a showcase for the London Handel Orchestra, made up of some of London's finest professional baroque players, led by Adrian Butterfield, which now has an excellent reputation for historically informed performance. The London Handel Festival gratefully acknowledges the generous support of its family of donors for its continued growth and success.

For full information, visit the London Handel Festival website.

Latest reviewsSee more...

Handel's Elpidia unearthed by Opera Settecento

Erica Eloff © Sussie Ahlburg
A pasticcio not seen since 1725, Elpidia contains some excellent music... even if it isn't by Handel!
****1
Read more

A dusty curio: Handel's Berenice, regina d'Egitto

La Nuova Musica and David Bates © Benjamin Ealovega
A strong cast and fine playing from La Nuova Musica gives Handel's Berenice a reasonably fair outing, but its original plot weaknesses constrain this opera from being anything more than a curio for the Handel connoisseur. 
***11
Read more

Ariodante at the RCM: in which technique is not enough

Simon Shimbambu as the King of Scotland © Chris Christodoulou
An impressive display of singing technique isn't enough to make RCM's Ariodante connect with hearts and minds.
**111
Read more

Baritone wins Handel Singing Competition 2015

Josep-Ramon Olivé © Chris Christodoulou
Handel Singing Competition, which forms part of London Handel Festival, is unique in that the participants sing only Handel in all the rounds. 

Passionless Passion Music: Revolutionary Drawing Room play Haydn’s Seven Last Words

© Susan Porter-Thomas
David Fay was disappointed by Revolutionary Drawing Room's 25th anniversary concert, a performance of Haydn's Seven Last Words at St George's, Hanover Square which lacked emotional engagement.
**111
Read more
LOOKING BACK AT THE 2016 SEASON OF THE FESTIVAL
St Georges Hanover Square
Saying goodbye to a festival director

Preview: London Handel Festival 2016

London's annual cornucopia for baroque lovers returns with a programme as strong as any, with performances from well acknowledged masterpieces (Ariodante, St Matthew Passion) to the rarely formed Alexander Balus