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Repertoire

Death of Athaliah. Engraving by Gustave Doré (1832-1883)
22 Jul 2011

G. F. Handel: Athalia

Athalia: Oratorio (sacred drama) in 3 acts

Streaming Audio

G. F. Handel: Athalia

Athalia: Simone Kermes; Josabeth: Sarah Fox: Joas: Johannette Zomer: Joad: Iestyn Davies: Mathan: James Gilchrist; Abner: Neal Davies. Balthasar-Neumann-Chor. Concerto Köln. Director: Ivor Bolton. Live performance, 24 May 2009, Kölner Philharmonie.

Above: Death of Athaliah. Engraving by Gustave Doré (1832-1883)

 

Music composed by G. F. Handel. Libretto by Samuel Humphreys, after Athalie by Jean Racine (1691).

First performance: Oxford 1733

athalia-killing-royal-child.gifAthalia Killing the Royal Children [Source: sang sabda]

Principal Performers:
Athalia, Baalite Queen of Judah and Daughter of Jezebel Soprano
Josabeth, Wife of Joad Soprano
Joas, King of Judah Boy Soprano
Joad, High Priest Alto
Mathan, Priest of Baal, formerly a Jewish Priest Tenor
Abner, Captain of the Jewish Forces Bass

From Second Kings 11 (KJV):

1And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal. 2But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons which were slain; and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain. 3And he was with her hid in the house of the LORD six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land.

4And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the LORD, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the LORD, and shewed them the king’s son. 5And he commanded them, saying, This is the thing that ye shall do; A third part of you that enter in on the sabbath shall even be keepers of the watch of the king’s house; 6And a third part shall be at the gate of Sur; and a third part at the gate behind the guard: so shall ye keep the watch of the house, that it be not broken down. 7And two parts of all you that go forth on the sabbath, even they shall keep the watch of the house of the LORD about the king. 8And ye shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand: and he that cometh within the ranges, let him be slain: and be ye with the king as he goeth out and as he cometh in.

9And the captains over the hundreds did according to all things that Jehoiada the priest commanded: and they took every man his men that were to come in on the sabbath, with them that should go out on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest. 10And to the captains over hundreds did the priest give king David’s spears and shields, that were in the temple of the LORD. 11And the guard stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, round about the king, from the right corner of the temple to the left corner of the temple, along by the altar and the temple. 12And he brought forth the king’s son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king.

13And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people into the temple of the LORD. 14And when she looked, behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner was, and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets: and Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason. 15But Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of the hundreds, the officers of the host, and said unto them, Have her forth without the ranges: and him that followeth her kill with the sword. For the priest had said, Let her not be slain in the house of the LORD. 16And they laid hands on her; and she went by the way by the which the horses came into the king’s house: and there was she slain.

Click here for the complete libretto.

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