The East Sussex Bach Choir, directed by John Hancorn, and the Baroque Collective, led by Alison Bury, will perform Handel’s great oratorio Samson in Lewes Town Hall.
The concert takes place on Saturday, April 25, at 7.30pm.
The strong team of soloists, all with Sussex connections, includes Lewes-based sopranos Catrin Woodruff and Lucinda Houghton and bass Stephen Charlesworth.
The brilliant young tenor Nick Pritchard sings the role of Samson – his opening aria, tragically mourning his loss of sight, was said to have moved Handel, who was himself nearly blind, to tears.
This powerful oratorio tells the story of Samson’s revenge on the Philistines after his betrayal by Dalila and his blinding and enslavement at the hands of his enemies, dying a martyr’s death in the process of destroying the Philistines’ temple while they worshipped their god, Dagon.
The oratorio was written immediately after Handel had completed Messiah in 1741, and proved such a success that it was performed for nine successive seasons at Covent Garden.
Despite the tragedy, the work ends with celebration. The famous aria for soprano and trumpet, “Let the bright seraphim” and the chorus, “Let their celestial concerts all unite” provide an exciting and triumphant finale.
Tickets from www.bachchoir.org.uk, 07759 878562 or the Lewes Tourist Information Centre: £12, £15, £20, under 16s free.
Born in West Sussex, Nick Pritchard is a graduate of New College, Oxford, where he was also a Choral Scholar and is currently on his first year at the Royal College of Music International Opera School (RCMIOS), studying with Russell Smythe.