The Sunday Opera: Handel's "Theodora" from the Royal Opera House
We’re staying at the Royal Opera House for this week’s Sunday Opera (7/24 3:00 p.m.) and travelling back to 1750 for George Frideric Handel’s dramatic oratorio “Theodora.”
The opera takes place in the 4th Century when Christians were persecuted for their beliefs. Theodora (Julia Bullock) is a Christian of noble birth who is caught worshipping with her friend Irene (Joyce DiDonato) instead of attending the pagan rituals to Venus and Flora as decreed by the President of Antioch, Valens (Gyula Orendt).
They are arrested by Septimius (Ed Lyon) who is a friend of another Roman soldier named Didymus (Jakub Jozef Orlinski) who was converted by and is in love with Theodora.
Didymus begs for Theodora’s life which leads Valens to suspect that he is a Christian as well. Didymus visits Theodora in prison and helps her escape, but Theodora cannot live with the guilt that he sacrificed himself for her and returns to meet her fate with him. Harry Bicket conducts the Royal Opera House Orchestra.
We’ll complete our time together when Michael Kownacky brings you some familiar music of Handel. Along with the overture to “Solomon,” we’ll listen to the Suite I in F of Handel’s Water Music which will hopefully help to cool things off!