Halle (dpa/sa) - Live and with a large audience: After two years of corona-related digital offers via computer, tens of thousands of fans of baroque music visited the 100th Handel Festival in Halle. "It has become a great anniversary celebration, with a wonderful, great atmosphere," said the director of the festival, Clemens Birnbaum, on Sunday of the dpa. Visitors would have decided to buy tickets at shorter notice than "before Corona", when tickets were booked well in advance.
According to the information, around 58,000 festival visitors were counted in 2018/2019. "We probably won't quite get there this year," said the director of the preliminary balance sheet. On Sunday there were other events and in the evening the traditional open-air final concert of the 17-day festival was on the program. The festival included 100 events such as operas, concerts, oratorios and offers for young audiences.
The baroque composer Georg Friedrich Handel (1685-1759) was born in Halle. He lived mostly in London, where he also died. According to experts, Handel was a superstar in his day. Handel's music is still being researched to this day, and pieces are performed all over the world. The church music piece "Messiah" as well as the "Fireworks Music" are among the famous works in the rich opera and oratorio output of the composer.
In 2023, the festival in Halle is planned from May 26th to June 11th. The main theme is the opera, as Birnbaum said. The background is a dispute in Handel's time about the financing and value of culture as a whole in society. In view of tight budgets and rising costs, the topic is more topical than ever today, he said.
During the 100th Handel Festival, the visitors accepted the diverse program with great enthusiasm. "The artists also enjoyed the atmosphere in direct contact with the audience," said Birnbaum. In 2020 the corona pandemic arrived in Saxony-Anhalt. Festivals nationwide have been canceled to protect against infection. According to the artistic director, Handel fans from Germany, the Netherlands, England, France, Japan and the USA came to Halle in 2022.