A Greek choral concert in Göttingen

These people are waiting to enter the St. Marien-Kirche (Saint Mary’s Church) in Göttingen, Germany, to attend a choral concert by the Athens Chamber Choir. The orange truck on the right is a sound truck from the North German Radio (NDR), a public radio station that recorded the concert for later broadcast.

Music stands set up in the church for the choir concert

This concert was one of the many events of the 2023 International Händel Festival in Göttingen, one of the three Händel festivals that are held in Germany each year. (The other two are in Karlsruhe and Halle.)

The motto of the 2023 festival in Göttingen was “Hellas!” (= Greece!) with an exclamation point, because Händel’s Semele and Hercules are both based on stories from ancient Greek mythology. Also the festival’s artistic director and its chorus master are both Greek.

Program booklet for the Athens Chamber Choir

The Athens Chamber Choir is introduced in the program booklet as “a new choral group founded by Greek maestro Agathangelos Georgakatos and twelve professional choral singers especially for the occasion of the Göttingen International Händel Festival 2023.”

All twelve of the singers — three sopranos, three contraltos, three tenors and three basses — are members of the chorus of the Greek National Opera, of which Agathangelos Georgakatos is the chorus master.

For the choral concert, the twelve singers stood in a semi-circle behind their music stands. Their program consisted of both religious and secular choral works by sixteen composers, some Greek and some not. The composers were all new to me, except for Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) and especially Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), the world’s first real opera composer.

Portrait of Georg Friedrich Händel in the church

There was no music by Georg Friedrich Händel in the choral concert, even though it was a part of the Händel Festival. The next evening, however, the twelve members of the Athens Chamber Choir were busy singing and acting in the staged performance of Händel’s Semele, where they played the roles of priests, augurs, love-gods, zephyrs, nymphs and shepherds.

My photos and text in this post are from 2023.
See also: Händel’s Semele in Göttingen.

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