Theodora, a nobly-born Christian and her friend Irene are worshiping with their fellow believers in private rather than joining in the festival for the emperor’s birthday. A messenger brings news of the Roman governor’s decree for citizens to offer sacrifice to Venus, on pain of death.
The Governor, Valens, orders Septimus to take charge of enforcing the decree. Septimus’s friend Didymus, a soldier secretly converted to Christianity, asks that citizens whose consciences prevent them making sacrifices to idols be spared punishment, but Valens dismisses this.
When they come to arrest her Theodora she expects to die but is told she is sentenced to be a prostitute in the Temple of VenusWhether or not modern dress productions are to your taste, it’s hard to deny how much Bridget Kimak (set and costume design) and Jake Wiltshire (lighting designer), bring to the evening. (Weekend Notes – David Keyworth)
Handel was 64 when wrote Theodora, his penultimate oratorio using a libretto by Thomas Morell that told a story of martyred Christians in Antioch . Although only performed three times in his lifetime it is now becoming more popular due in no small part to the beauty of it’s music. In this production, Theodora was staged as an opera.
G.F. Handel composer
Roger Hamilton conductor
John Ramster director
Bridget Kimak designer
Jake Wiltshire lighting designer