Com­ing up in Philly music: Han­del goes to war

1 minute read
The Ama Deus Ensemble presents 'Judas Maccabaeus' this weekend. (Photo by John Sturgis Photography.)
The Ama Deus Ensemble presents 'Judas Maccabaeus' this weekend. (Photo by John Sturgis Photography.)

Most of Handel’s biblical oratorios dramatize Old Testament subjects with strong story lines. Many of them are essentially English-language operas, performed without costumes or sets. Eighteenth-century English audiences resisted Italian opera, but they turned Handel’s oratorios into a national institution.

Judas Maccabaeus is one of the most popular—a stirring story about a triumphant battle against religious oppression, with rousing choruses and heroic calls to arms. The Ama Deus Ensemble will present it this weekend, with two performances that should appeal to anyone who likes Handel, Baroque music, and a bravura story well told.

The Ama Deus Ensemble is a chorus and Baroque orchestra led by Valentin Radu, an enterprising conductor who has been enlivening the local music scene for over three decades. It’s part of Vox Ama Deus, a conglomeration of musical organizations with a repertoire that ranges from the Renaissance to George Gershwin. The conglomerate started as a Renaissance choral group and the music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods is still one of Radu’s core strengths.

The Ama Deus Ensemble will present Judas Maccabaeus on Friday, June 7, at 7pm at Saint Mark's Church, 1625 Locust Street, and Sunday, June 9, at 4pm at the Church of the Good Samaritan, 212 West Lancaster Avenue, Paoli, PA. Tickets are available online, by phone at (610) 688-2800, and at the door. Students and faculty may be eligible for free tickets courtesy of grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the CHG Charitable Trusts. The free tickets are available at the door with ID or they can be reserved in advance by calling Vox Ama Deus or emailing [email protected]

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