Julia Bullock (Theodora), Joyce DiDonato (Irene), Jakub Józef Orliński (Didymus), Ed Lyon (Septimius), Gyula Orendt (Valens). The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Royal Opera Chorus, Katie Mitchell, Harry Bicket, conductor.


In the OPUS ARTE DVD of Handel’s THEODORA, Katie Mitchel directs the work in a modern dress production,

Theodora, a Christian woman plots against the pagan Romans. When her secret plans are discovered, she faces punishment by her oppressors.

Not often heard since its short performance run in the 18th Century and sung in the original English libretto by Thomas Morell, Theodora comes off as an unstageable concert piece, even though Handel’s work contains a compelling dramatic story that given a strong cast of singing actors can sustain the attention of an audience in its original form as an oratorio.


A hard-working cast, led by the American soprano Julia Bullock in the title role, includes mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as Irene, Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński as Didymus, tenor Ed Lyon as Septimius, and bass Gyula Orendt as Valens, sing beautifully and manage to act with restrained dignity while carrying out the multiple tasks of a kitchen staff while discussing matters of life and death.

Rafael de Acha (c) 2023

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