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BelshazzarNew production

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OpernhausFalkenstrasse 1, Zürich, 8008, Switzerland
November 03, 06, 09 19:30, 15, 17 14:00, 21, 23, 30, December 06 (at 19:00 unless shown)
Performers
Zurich Opera
Laurence CummingsConductor
Sebastian BaumgartenDirector
Barbara SteinerSet Designer
Christina SchmittCostume Designer
Mauro PeterTenorBelshazzar
Layla ClaireSopranoNitocris
Jakub Józef OrlińskiCountertenorCyrus
Tuva SemmingsenMezzo-sopranoDaniel
Evan HughesBass-baritoneGobrias
Elfried RollerLighting Designer
Hannah DörrVideo Artist
Claus SpahnDramaturgy
Lina DambrauskaiteSoprano
Justyna BlujSoprano
Katia LedouxContralto
Thomas ErlankTenor
Wojciech RasiakBass
Janko KastelicChoirmaster / chorus director
Zurich Opera Chorus
Orchestra La Scintilla Zurich

When Georg Friedrich Handel’s series of operatic successes in London came to an end, he focused his compositional work on the oratorio, devoting all his passion to this form. He composed these works on a grand scale, and – unlike in his operas – magnificent choirs now played a central role in the musical structure. Handel found the themes for his oratorios primarily in episodes from the Old Testament. However, these works were not staged in an ecclesiastical setting, but were performed as commercial enterprises in rented theatres. The oratorio Belshazzar, premièred in 1741, is also based on Old Testament subject matter and tells the story of the Babylonian ruler Belshazzar, who is overthrown by the Persians. Throughout the plot, a religious dispute continues between the Babylonians, who pay homage to several deities and cultivate orgiastic rituals, and the Persians, who believe in the one God of the Old Testament. A third people is also involved – the strictly religious Jews, who are held in captivity by the Babylonians. One of the highlights of the action is the moment when, in the middle of an ecstatic Babylonian feast, God’s hand can be seen writing the words «Mene, mene tekel» on the wall, which the Jewish seer Daniel interprets as a prophecy of doom for the blasphemous Babylonians.

German director Sebastian Baumgarten, who most recently celebrated a great success at Zurich Opera House with Brecht/Weill’s Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, will stage Belshazzar in typical fashion as a visually powerful, epically dramatic theatrical spectacle. The English Handel expert Laurence Cummings will be at the rostrum of the Orchestra La Scintilla. The cast of singers includes soloists who are as outstanding as they are stylistically competent, ranging from our ensemble member Mauro Peter as Belshazzar to the Canadian soprano Layla Claire and the young Polish countertenor, rising star Jakub Józef Orliński, who will be making his Zurich début. The chorus of Zurich Opera House, which will be divided into three peoples, can be heard in one of its most beautiful and challenging roles of the 2O19/2O season.

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