Timothy Bentch, Ed Bara, Andrea Lauren Brown & others. Ama Deus Ensemble. Valentin Radu, conductor.
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Handel's celebratory oratorio Judas Maccabaeus was written as an encouragement to the English people after a major victory over a Jacobite uprising. After its 1747 premiere at Covent Garden, its popularity became second only to Messiah. The work recounts the ancient Hebrews' resistance to Syrian conquest of Judea (a victory celebrated annually during Hanukkah). This rousing, tour de force performance by Valentin Radu and his period-instrument ensemble showcases many fine soloists, including tenor Timothy Bentch in the title role, bass Ed Bara as Simon, and the golden-voiced soprano Andrea Lauren Brown as the Israelite Woman.
"The music of Handel sparkles with life and variety."—Chicago Sun-Times
"Timothy Bentch as Judas is fully up to the demands of the role…. Ed Bara's Simon is also an asset. Tatyana Rashkovsky sings well in her double role [Priest; Israelite Man]."—Fanfare