“The Triumph of Time and Truth”

by Georg Friedrich Händel

Revival of the Handel oratorio “The Triumph of Time and Truth”

A revival of last years’ production by the Neuzelle Monastery Foundation as part of Oper Oder Spree in cooperation with the Evangelical Church District Oderland-Spree.

Director: Prof. Lars Franke
Musical Direction: Bettina Rohrbeck
Set design: Frauke Bischinger
Assistance: Pauline Malack
Musical Accompaniment: capella vitalis Berlin / conducted by Almut Schlicker
Technical support: Kleist Forum Frankfurt (Oder)

Duration: 2 x 60 minutes plus interval

After its great success in 2022, this production is back on the programme. This popular event will take place in Beeskow St. Marienkirche, Frankfurt (Oder) and Fürstenwalde as well as in the parish churches of Müncheberg and Neuzelle. With the planned performances in church halls, we bring the work full circle, back to the place where the oratorio genre has its origins.

The quest for everlasting beauty is at the heart of the secular oratorio by Georg Friederich Händel (1685-1759). Between time and truth, as well as beauty, deceit and pleasure, a competition erupts for the true definition of what actually constitutes beauty of life. Even if the title provides clarity about the outcome of this contest, the question remains whether beauty must succumb to time. In the quarrel between the allegories, a moral drama unfolds in the struggle for identity and fulfilment. Handel’s music lends each individual allegory a deep humanity and allows characters to emerge in vivid intimacy. The artificial characters and their nevertheless profound humanity open up the surreal, pictorial spaces of the staged realisation.

The oratorio “The Triumph of Time and Truth” reflects in its different versions the entire creative period of Händel as an oratorio composer. The first version was written in Rome in 1706 /1707 as “Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno” (The triumph of times and disappointment), although it is his first oratorio, Handel was already a successful opera composer in his early 20s at the time.

Even before Handel arrived in Rome, Pope Innocent XII had banned and closed all secular theatres, including opera houses. The impetus for the “Triumph” only came about through this measure of the so-called “opera proibita” (forbidden opera).

Shortly before the end of his life, in 1757, Handel wrote a new version, this time in English, “The triumph of time and truth”, which is performed in the Neuzelle production in significant excerpts. Three large pictures lead through the evening, beginning with a fashion show, entirely indulging in outward beauty. The second picture ends in a great celebration. Finally, the end of earthly existence is reflected in a cemetery comprising of only white stones.

With the kind support of:

Landkreis Oder-Spree
Sparkasse Oder-Spree (main sponsor)
Ministry of Science, Research and Culture of the State of Brandenburg