Set in a time of ancient Romes persecution of the Christians, Handels late masterpiece Theodora tells of the tragic martyrdom of the heroine and her lover Didymus. The challenging nature of the libretto with its religious conflict, cruelty, self-sacrifice and brothel scene was discomforting for contemporary audiences, and despite Handels magnificent music the oratorio was his least successful. This is part of a series of Handel oratorios from Martini and Junge Kantorei. Joachim Carlos Martinis series of Handels oratorios has gained considerable critical acclaim and a sizeable following, with first rate recommendations from publications such as the Penguin Guide (on Tobit, 8.570113-14). Controversial in its time and relatively neglected since, if anything the themes of Theodora resonate more today. Handels masterly score is given a tremendous performance here, with a recording consistent with the extremely high standards of the rest of the series.
Christina Wieland, soprano - Diana Schmid, mezzo-soprano - Franz Vitzthum, contreténor - Knut Schoch, ténor - Klaus Mertens, baryton - Junge Kantorei - Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra - Joachim Carlos Martini, direction