Grange Festival S19 Belshazzar Final web


Biblical high drama


From the Book of Daniel, Handel’s dramatic oratorio tells of the fall of Babylon at the hands of Cyrus the Great and the freeing of the Jewish nation. This is grand Baroque opera, an early Aida perhaps. The chorus plays centre stage, at once pleasure-seeking Babylonians, or solemn Jews, or noble Persians.

This previously rarely staged masterpiece provides the perfect opportunity for a unique collaboration between The Grange Festival and The Sixteen in a celebration of their 40th anniversary. The Grange Festival chorus and The Sixteen Choir and Orchestra under their founding director Harry Christophers, with a starry cast of Handelian luminaries, will bring Biblical high drama to thrilling life at The Grange.

Our production of another Handel masterpiece, Agrippina, in 2018 wowed audiences and critics alike. We were consistently dazzled by 5 stars. Belshazzar promises more of the same except this time it is in English and it has electrifying choruses. Creating a world class choral unit from The Sixteen and The Grange Festival chorus promises something special and unique, never to be heard again. 1743 was an annus mirabilis for Handel. His music for Belshazzar is inspired, thrilling and humane. Giving a whole new theatrical dimension to this dramatic oratorio in the experienced hands and thrilling imagination of Director Daniel Slater and Designer Robert Innes Hopkins is an exciting prospect.

  • Composer — Georg Frideric Handel
  • Librettist — Charles Jennens
  • In collaboration with — The Sixteen - Choir and Orchestra

Production Team

  • Harry Christopher Conductor



  • Henry Waddington

    Henry Waddington Gobrias


the augmented choir of The Sixteen - impeccably disciplined, supremely stylish - are the true stars of this enthralling show

The Guardian

Robert Murray made a wonderfully outrageous Belshazzar, conspicuous in his consumption, omniverous in his sexual tastes and generally self-indulgent

Planet Hugill

The Sixteen and their allies...sang, especially in the sublime choruses of the enslaved Jews, with a heart-lifting power that united dazzling vocal discipline with an emotional force that might have knocked those walls down by itself

The Arts Desk

Robert Murray's Belshazzar steered that very fine line between undue histrionics and credibility very skillfully, and made it possible for one to believe that this personable young tenor was actually a very bad man indeed. His singing was both powerful and beguiling


Murray, in one of his finest performances to date, makes an exceptional Belshazzar, superbly sang, attractive yet cowardly, unthinking and vainglorious

The Guardian
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