Handel's <i>Jephtha</i>

Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Altobelli

Ever make a promise you didn’t want to keep? Well, tell it to Jephtha, the Book of Judges warrior who vowed to sacrifice the first thing he saw in exchange for winning a battle, which, unfortunately, turned out to be his daughter. For Ars Lyrica Artistic Director Matthew Dirst, Handel’s Jephtha is perfect for the ensemble’s current Fables & Follies season, because it’s both. “It is more a fable, because it’s a story about the bad deals that we sometimes get ourselves engaged in,” says Dirst. “[But] you could argue that his bargain with God was a folly. It certainly wasn’t a smart thing to do.” Though the work is dark, Dirst promises a beautiful oratorio, a happy ending (as in most 18th-century opera plots) and a timeless warning: “Be careful what you promise; you might just have to deliver it.”

7:30 p.m. October 15, and 2:30 p.m. October 16. The Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-315-2525 or visit arslyricahouston.org. $22 to $65.

Promotional Event Description

Handels Jephtha

Handel’s final masterpiece sets an Old Testament tale about a warrior’s foolish promise to God and its terrible consequences. The austere subject matter (from the Book of Judges) becomes pure gold in Handel’s hands; his oratorio is full of beautiful melodies, searing choruses, even a surprise ending. These performances feature a stellar cast of soloists and the award-winning Moores School Concert Chorale from the University of Houston.

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