The Lufthansa Festival of baroque music will run 16-24 May with a varied programme of events to celebrating the festival’s 30th birthday and the 300th anniversary of the founding of St John’s, Smith Square.
This year, the main inspiration for the festival will be drawn from the year 1714, the year in which George I acceded to the throne.
Handel forms the core of this year’s programme, with Harry Christophers conducting the opening concert sung by The Sixteen (‘The King Shall Have Pleasure’, 16 May, 7.30pm). From the anthems he wrote for the coronation of George II, to a Te Deum written to celebrate victory in a battle in which that King himself took part, the festival celebrates a diverse range of Handel’s work.
Elsewhere, the programme aims to throw light on other Anglo-German connections, including chamber and theatre music by some of the many German composers who lived in England, including a double-bill of funeral music by Heinrich Schütz and Henry Purcell performed by Vox Luminis directed by Lionel Meunier (‘Funerals for a Prince and a Queen’, 18 May, 7.30pm).
Other highlights include ‘Flying the Flag: 30 years of Baroque Music in London’ (17 May, 6.15pm), a lecture given by the festival’s founding artistic director, Tess Knighton. The festival closes on 24 May with a performance of Handel’s Joshua conducted by Laurence Cummings with the FestspielOrchester Göttingen, the NDR Choir of Hamburg, and soloists Anna Dennis (soprano), Renata Pokupić (mezzo-soprano), Kenneth Tarver (tenor), and Tobias Berndt (bass). Cummings’ recording of Handel’s Siroe, re di Persia, also with the FestspielOrchester Göttingen, is released on 5 May on Accent Records.
Tickets free-£45. Box office: 020 7222 1061
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