Chamber Music

Babylonian apocalypse

Handel’s oratorio Belshazzar, which dramatically addresses the decline of the Babylonian despot of the same name, is a festival of voices – for both soloists and choir. At this performance, the RIAS Kammerchor will personify the various ethnic groups, namely the Babylonians, Jews and Persians. The Scottish tenor Thomas Walker will interpret the title role. At his side will be singing British soprano Rosemary Joshua and countertenor Valer Sabadus.

Accademia Bizantina

Ottavio Dantone Direction and Harpsichord

Thomas Walker Tenor (Belshazzar)

Rosemary Joshua Soprano (Nitocris)

Valer Sabadus Countertenor (Cyrus)

Delphine Galou Countertenor (Daniel)

Andreas Wolf Bass Baritone (Gobrias)

RIAS Kammerchor

Nicolas Fink Chorus Master

George Frideric Handel


Dates and Tickets


When the Babylonian ruler Belshazzar celebrates the Sheshach festival, he abuses holy temple vessels that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken in Jerusalem during the decadent carousal. Suddenly, a hand appears and writes an inscription on the wall: “Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin”. The king, frightened to death, calls for his wise men. But only the captive Jew Daniel is able to interpret the writing: Babylon will fall and be split up between Medes and Persians.

Charles Jennens, who had already written the texts for Saul and Messiah, added additional historical reports to the Biblical tale and thus created an extremely dramatic libretto, which Handel pays back in his own coin in his music for Belshazzar. The compositional elements upon which he drew show him to be an experienced opera composer, whereby the choir has the demanding task of credibly representing the various ethnic groups.

At the performance of Handel’s oratorio in the Philharmonic series Originalklang [Original Sound] by Ottavio Dantone and the Accademia Bizantina, the RIAS Kammerchor will personify Babylonians, Jews and Persians. The Scottish tenor Thomas Walker, who has performed at renowned opera houses like the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brüssel and the Royal Opera Covent Garden in London, will take the role of Belshazzar. At his side will sing the British Handel expert Rosemary Joshua (soprano), the “phenomenal countertenor” Valer Sabadus (Der Tagesspiegel), as well as mezzo-soprano Delphine Galou and bass baritone Andreas Wolf.