G. F. Handel

London Handel Festival
Friday 26th April, 2019, 19.00
St George's Hanover Square, London

Halle Festival, Halle, Germany
Saturday 16th June, 2019, 15.00 


Conductor and editor – Leo Duarte


Venceslao – Nicholas Pritchard (tenor)

Casimiro – Michal Czerniawski (countertenor)

Lucinda – Helen Charlston (mezzosoprano)

Erenice – Galina Averina (soprano)

Ernando – Maria Ostroukhova (contralto)

Gismondo and Alessandro – Christopher Jacklin (bass)

Handel conducted the first performance of Venceslao at the Haymarket Theatre on 12 January 1731. The drama by Apostolo Zeno, performed in Venice in various settings in the preceding decade, comprised five acts. Owen Swiny sent it from Italy for Faustina’s 1726 debut with the Academy, but Handel programmed Alessandro instead. His librettist, Rossi, abridged Venceslao for the London audience, reducing it from five acts to three. The complex plot features love rivals at the Polish court, a queen in disguise and mistaken identity. It is the third in a sequence of three pasticcii revived from the manuscripts by Leo Duarte for Opera Settecento and performed in a co-operation between the London and Halle Handel Festivals. Handel’s cast included Senesino, Fabri, Merighi and Anna Maria Strada del Pò. Our cast features two former London Handel Singing Competition prizewinners, as well as the 2018 winner, Helen Charlston.

“Nearly 300 years later it’s still a winning formula, especially when performed by the ever-stylish band of Opera Settecento under Leo Duarte, and as exciting a line-up of young soloists as I’ve ever heard at the festival… Bring on next year’s performance of Venceslao.”  
The Arts Desk on Ormisda

“Michal Czerniawski… has a beautiful homogeneous tone and a solid technique for addressing florid music. He was an ideal and noble hero. His superb breath control created an impressive ‘O rendentemi il mio bene’ ending the first act, with Duarte coaxing a touching and effective timbre from the orchestra.” 

Parterre on Amadigi di Gaula