login | register
EN  |  DE


George Frideric Handel Theodora

Oratorio in three parts HWV 68
Text by Thomas Morell based on The Martyrdom of Theodora and Didymus by Robert Boyle

New production
In English with German and English surtitles

Duration of the performance: approx. 3,5 hours


  • 25 July 2009, 18:30


  • 31 July 2009, 18:30
  • 06 August 2009, 18:30
  • 09 August 2009, 18:30
  • 16 August 2009, 18:30
  • 21 August 2009, 18:30
  • 28 August 2009, 18:30

Print programme (PDF)


Ivor Bolton, Conductor
Christof Loy, Stage Director
Annette Kurz, Set Design
Ursula Renzenbrink, Costume Design
Stefan Bolliger, Lighting
Thomas Jonigk, Dramaturgy
Thomas Wilhelm, Choreography
Alois Glaßner, Chorus Master


Christine Schäfer, Theodora
Bejun Mehta, Didymus
Johannes Martin Kränzle, Valens
Joseph Kaiser, Septimius
Bernarda Fink, Irene
Ryland Davies, Messenger

James McVinnie, Organ
Salzburger Bachchor
Freiburger Barockorchester


Antioch, around 305 A.D.: Roman governor Valens orders all citizens to sacrifice to the god Jupiter. Theodora, a Christian who has renounced the world, refuses, and therefore is ordered to be taken to the local brothel, where she is to be raped. The officer Didymus, who desires her, is able to rescue her, but in the end they both choose death: their ultimate refuge, the promise of divine love, inner peace and calm.
Theodora, Handel’s penultimate oratorio, premiered on March 16, 1750 and dominated by minor keys, was not to the liking of London’s audiences. Handel and his librettist Thomas Morell tell the story of two early Christian martyrs, and thus of the inner conflict of man, for whom there seem to be only two extreme paths in his search for love: otherworldly abnegation or worldly, bodily lust. Between these two extremes, human life takes place with all its confusing forms of love. “That I might rest / For ever blest, / With harmony and love,” Theodora hopes in prison, faced with death. In this oratorio, love in its absoluteness becomes indistinguishable from death.

Thomas Jonigk