Recently in Repertoire


Andromaca: Dramma per musica in three acts.

ROSSINI: Ermione

Ermione: Azione tragica in two acts.

TRAETTA: Ippolito ed Aricia

Ippolito ed Aricia: Tragedia in five acts.


Idomeneo: Opera seria in three acts.

GLUCK: Paride ed Elena

Paride ed Elena: Dramma per musica in five acts.


Orphée: Opera in four acts.

Music composed by Christoph Willibald Gluck (arranged by Hector Berlioz, 1859). Libretto by Ranieri de' Calzabigi

LULLY: Alceste, ou Le triomphe d’Alcide

Alceste, ou Le triomphe d’Alcide: Tragédie en musique in a prologue and five acts.

GLUCK: Alceste

Alceste: Tragédie opéra in three acts.


Medea: Melodramma tragico in three acts.

SACCHINI: Oedipe à Colone

Oedipe à Colone: Tragédie lyrique in three acts.

STRAUSS : Elektra

Elektra: Tragedy in one act.


Fedra: Dramma per musica in two acts.

BERLIOZ: Les Troyens

Les Troyens: Grand opéra in five acts.

WAGNER: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Music drama in three acts.

STRAUSS: Ariadne auf Naxos

Ariadne auf Naxos, Oper with a prologue and one act. Music composed by Richard Strauss. Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal.

MOZART: Der Schauspieldirektor

Der Schauspieldirektor [The Impresario], Singspiel in one act, K486.

SALIERI: Prima la musica e poi le parole

Divertimento teatrale in one act.

GIORDANO: Andrea Chénier

Andrea Chénier, an opera in four acts.

DONIZETTI: La Figlia del Reggimento

La figlia del reggimento [La Fille du régiment (‘The Daughter of the Regiment’)], Opéra comique in two acts.

DONIZETTI: L’elisir d’amore

L’elisir d’amore, Melodramma giocoso in two acts.



Detail from Saul and David by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1655-1660)
20 May 2007

HANDEL: Saul (HWV 53)

Saul, oratorio in three acts (HWV 53).

G. F. Handel: Saul

Saul: Franz-Josef Selig
Michal: Camilla Tilling
David: Andreas Scholl
Merab: Dina Kuznetsova
Jonathan: Jeremy Ovenden
Samuel, Doeg: Philip Ens
High Priest, Amalekite: Norman Schankle
Witch: Guy De Mey
Concerto Köln, Collegium Vocale, René Jacobs (cond.)
Live broadcast, 27 February 2001, Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, Brussels


Music composed by G. F. Handel. Libretto by Charles Jennens, based on 1 Samuel.

First Performance: 16 January 1739, King’s/Queen’s Theatre in the Haymarket, London

Principal Characters:
Merab, Saul’s daughterSoprano
Michal, Saul’s daughterSoprano
Jonathan, Saul’s sonTenor
High PriestTenor
Witch of EndorTenor
Abner, Captain of Saul’s armyTenor

Setting: Ancient Israel


David returns victorious from his combat with Goliath. He is welcomed by Saul, king of Israel, accompanied by his son Jonathan, his two daughters Michal and Merab, and Abner, his commander-in-chief. Saul asks David to remain with him and to marry Merab. But she scorns the low-born hero, whereas Michal is in love with him. Jonathan offers David his friendship. The people sing David’s praises, placing him above Saul, who is fired with jealousy and fears for his crown. He commands Jonathan to kill his friend, but in vain: Jonathan reminds his father of David’s acts of bravery in freeing his people from Goliath. Saul swears he will not harm David, and offers him Michal’s hand — before sending him off to battle in the hope that he will be slain by the Philistines.

When David comes back, having triumphed once more, Saul tries to kill him with his javelin. David trusts in the Lord's protection, but flees in the face of Michal’s entreaties. Merab acknowledges her brother-in-law’s qualities and expresses her fears for his life.

Saul seeks to murder David, and reproaches Jonathan for taking his side. He goes to consult a witch, who calls up the ghost of Samuel. The latter prophesies that Israel will be defeated by the Philistines, and Saul and his sons killed.

An Amalekite tells David of the dreadful rout, and the death of Saul and Jonathan. David and Israel mourn their loss, then the people extol David, whom they choose to lead them.

Click here for the complete libretto.

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):