Show artwork for Solomon

Solomon Solomon

Composed by George Frideric Handel

Conducted by Harry Bicket

March 10, 2023

At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

It’s an epic cornucopia of musical delights, filled with dazzling arias, ravishing duets and thrilling choruses.

They’re back! After an astonishing debut with Alcina in 2021, conductor Harry Bicket and his sensational orchestra, The English Concert, return with another dazzling baroque masterpiece performed in concert. This time, it’s Handel’s Solomon. 

A magnificent song of celebration (sung in English!), Solomon celebrates the famously wise king in action: as a devoted husband to his beloved queen (never mind the 699 other wives or the 300 concubines), as a sage dispenser of justice (remember the two mothers laying claiming to the same baby?) and as a lavishly welcoming host to the visiting Queen of Sheba. 

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"Conductor Harry Bicket is a well-established master of this repertoire... Time seemed to stand still as the audience found itself immersed in the romantic longing or existential despair of one character or another."

Joshua KosmanSan Francisco Chronicle

Listen to the thundering "Swell the Full Chorus" from Handel's Solomon:


Harry Bicket
Ann Hallenberg
Solomon's Queen / 1st Harlot
Miah Persson
Queen of Sheba
Elena Villalón
2nd Harlot
Niamh O’Sullivan
James Way
A Levite
Brandon Cedel
The English Concert
Vocal Ensemble
The Clarion Choir
Choral Director
Steven Fox

Read the synopsis

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Act One 
Solomon, the king of Israel, has built a new temple in Jerusalem. At the dedication ceremony, he prays for God to grace it with his presence. Zadok, the high priest, sees flames descending from heaven, an acknowledgement that God is pleased with Solomon’s great achievement. With great humility, Solomon expresses his piety and devotion.

Solomon promises to build his queen a grand palace. The queen expresses her own piety and gratitude, and the two reaffirm their love and devotion to each other. 

Act Two 
King Solomon gratefully gives credit to God for his ascent to the throne. The Levite praises Solomon’s virtue. Two women, one of them holding an infant in her arms, beseech the king for justice. Both women gave birth to a son, but only one of the boys survived. Now, each of the women claims that the surviving child is hers. Solomon decrees that the child be cut in half to solve the dilemma. One of the women begs the king to relent, relinquishing her claim. Assuring everybody that he had no intention of making good on his threat, Solomon announces that the true mother is the one who would willingly give up her child in order to spare its life. Everyone rejoices in the king’s wisdom. 

Act Three 
King Solomon welcomes a visitor to Jerusalem: the visiting Queen of Sheba, who is dazzled by everything she sees. He orders musicians to entertain her. In gratitude for his hospitality and generosity, she rewards Solomon with gifts of gold and jewels, noting that she is most impressed by the majestic temple he has built. Zadok congratulates the king on the beauty of the temple. Solomon expresses gratitude for his kingdom’s remarkable prosperity, once again giving all credit to God. Taking her leave, the Queen of Sheba praises Solomon’s accomplishments, and the Israelites sing a song of rejoicing and glory to their beloved king. 

Sung in English, with English subtitles

Running time: approximately three hours and 15 minutes, including two intermissions

Special support from
Mr. Robert Finnerty and Mr. Richard Cullen

Artwork for Solomon
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2022/23 Season