Handel: Hercules - music drama in three acts, Hungarian première Hercules: István Kovács Dejanira, wife of Hercules: Viktória Vizin Iole, daughter of Eurytos: Katalin Szutrély Hyllus, son of Hercules: Zoltán Megyesi Featuring: Orfeo Orchestra, Purcell Choir Conductor: György Vashegyi Director: Csaba Káel Even by Handel's standards for high-speed composition, Hercules was completed in record time. Taking the story of Sophocles's Women of Trachis and Ovid's Metamorphoses as his basis, the composer began writing the work on 19 July 1744 and finished on 21 August. In the meantime, he sent teasing letters to Charles Jennens, the librettist of the work (and of the oratorio Belshazzar), urging him to keep pace with the composer in providing the lyrics. The première of the opera took place the following January at the King's Theatre in London, in concert style, the context in which it would continue to be performed in later centuries. The work was initially performed twice, without the chorus "Wanton God” or the aria "Cease, ruler of the day,” which are well known today and were only "tagged on” later from the closing scene of Theodora. Intended for theatre but more suited to the oratorio genre, the piece was performed on three more occasions during the composer's lifetime, before audiences discovered it for themselves in the latter half of the 19th century - just as they did other theatrical works with secular themes. The work received the recognition it deserved in the 20th century (together with Handel's other nearly forgotten operas). It was first staged in Münster in Westphalia in 1925, and was later heard by an audience of some 2,500 at the Waldbühne theatre during the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Today, the custom is to revive the 1925 performance, either in order to refresh opera house repertoires or to expand the range of works on offer at various festivals focusing on Handel or his time. It was presented in Paris in 2004, Vienna in 2005 and New York and London in 2006, and was also performed at the Handel Festival in Halle in 2005.


  • OrganExpedition

    Béla Bartók National Concert Hall
  • Zoltán Kocsis Memorial Concert

    Béla Bartók National Concert Hall
  • Lehár: The Land of Smiles

    Béla Bartók National Concert Hall
  • Michael Volle and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

    Béla Bartók National Concert Hall
  • Midori and the Munich Chamber Orchestra

    Béla Bartók National Concert Hall