Previous Events

Here you can read about and sample some of CHOC’s most recent productions and projects.

Handel’s Green Room Series 1

Spring 2021, Online

To a large audience worldwide, Cambridge Handel Opera Company presented three online discussions focussed on key aspects of preparing a Handel opera for the stage.

Discussions between Artistic Director, Julian Perkins, and invited guests, chaired by Dr Ruth Smith, were interspersed with musical illustrations, and with opportunities for audience Q&A – including votes on variant versions of ornaments. Ticket holders were able to access a recording via a private link afterwards.

Discussion One: Ornamenting Handel

Tuesday 23 February 2021

What (if any) should be the limits of ornamentation, what role can the instruments play, and who decides and how? Julian Perkins and Christopher Turner (Bajazet, tenor) explored how Italian operas such as Tamerlano allow for creativity by singers.

Discussion Two: Recitative - ‘Speaking in Tones’

Tuesday 30 March 2021

Not just link passages! Artistic director Julian Perkins and Tamerlano stage director Dionysios Kyropoulos on the vital role that recitatives have in the drama: expressing character, forwarding the plot, providing emotional launch pads for arias. In a hands-on session Julian and Dionysios explored in detail their approaches to preparing recitatives with singers, concluding with thoughts about the special nature of accompanied recitative.

Discussion Three: Production Dynamics

Tuesday 27 April 2021

What goes into staging Handel’s Tamerlano? In this interactive session Julian Perkins and Dionysios Kyropoulos discussed preparing a performing edition (gaining helpful suggestions from scholars among the audience); elements of baroque gesture and their meaning; and plans for the intricate rehearsal schedule.

A second series of Handel’s Green Room is planned for spring 2022.

Click the link here to find out more.

Eccles’ Semele

29 November 2019
Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge

Cambridge Handel Opera Company, Cambridge Early Music and Academy of Ancient Music joined forces for the first time for a rare concert performance and an acclaimed recording of John Eccles’ Semele. The disc was shortlisted for the 2021 Gramophone Award, named Recording of the Month in BBC Music MagazineDisc of the Month in Opera, Record of the Week on BBC Radio 3 and Editor’s Choice in Gramophone. 

“Eccles’s 1706 work is a fascinating insight into its era, and this clean, light-on-its-feet version is a truly gratifying listen.” The Guardian, February 2021

“With the Academy of Ancient Music, the director Julian Perkins reveals a work that exceeds the superficially attractive, his charged reading embracing high drama and deep emotion.”  Sunday Times, February 2021

The opera is a lively retelling of Jupiter’s pursuit of the Theban princess Semele. Juno plots her downfall by persuading her to insist on seeing him in his divine form, whereupon his thunderbolts consume her. Planned for the opening of London’s Italian Opera House, Semele was never performed at the time, and the libretto is best known today from Handel’s later setting.

Below Tenor Rory Carver, baritone Richard Burkhard and soprano Anna Dennis join Julian Perkins and members of the Academy of Ancient Music previewed the recording ahead of its release in January 2021.

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Directed by Julian Perkins, and with the Academy of Ancient Music, this is the first professional recording of this work, released on AAM Records in January 2021.

“Thanks to Perkins’s deft casting, each principal’s vocalism and dramatis persona are wonderfully matched.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2021


Jupiter – Richard Burkhard
Juno – Helen Charlston
Iris – Héloïse Bernard
Cupid – Bethany Horak-Hallett
Somnus – Christopher Foster
Apollo – Jolyon Loy

Cadmus – Jonathan Brown
Semele – Anna Dennis
Ino – Aoife Miskelly
Athamas – William Wallace
Chief Priest – Graeme Broadbent
2nd Priest – Rory Carver
3rd Priest – James Rhoads

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Handel’s Rodelinda

3, 4, 6, 7 April 2018
The Great Hall, The Leys School, Cambridge

Led from the harpsichord by Artistic Director Julian Perkins, the fully staged production of Rodelinda combined period instrumentalists from the ensemble Sounds Baroque with advanced students. The cast brought together young professional solo singers for Handel’s exquisite chamber drama.

Below you can watch a short film about the performance at The Leys School, Cambridge.

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Rodelinda – Alice Privett
Bertarido – William Towers
Grimoaldo – William Wallace
Eduige – Ida Ränzlöv
Unulfo – Tom Scott-Cowell
Garibaldo – Nicholas Morris

Creative Team:

Musical Director – Julian Perkins
Stage Director – Max Hoehn
Set and Costume Designer – Simon Bejer
Costume Supervisor – Jefferson Miranda
Production Manager / Lighting Designer – Liam Matthews
Company Manager – Michael Jennings

See images of the performance below. Photos: Jean-Luc Benazet

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