Today at the Proms - Prom 74

Continuing our daily coverage of what's on at The Proms 2018, Susan Omand has a quick look at the programme for Prom 74: Handel's Theodora ...

Reminder - Watch Prom 65a: Youssou Ndour & Le Super Étoile de Dakar and Prom 70: Tango Prom on BBC Four tonight

Only one work in tonight's prom but wow what a stormer it is. Hopefully you all know what an oratorio is by now (if not, refresh your memory here) and, for me, Handel was the best at them.

Theodora is his penultimate oratorio and tells the story of the Christian martyr Theodora and her Christian-converted Roman lover, Didymus and is a classic Christians vs Romans tale of love, faith and sacrifice (and brothels). The libretto (story bit) was written by Thomas Morell, who worked with Handel a lot on his choral work. However, not all of the story made it into the oratorio because Handel LEFT OUT the last scene that Morell wrote (where Septimius, Didymus' friend and fellow soldier, converts to Christianity and everything turns out well) and ended the oratorio at the point that ** spoiler ** Theodora and Didymus are both condemned to death. For me, it makes it a much stronger story and the music is just sublime. Here is the finale (it's only 3 minutes or so, not the full 2 and a bit hours).

Here's the full programme for this evening's Prom which you can listen to live on Radio 3 or on the iPlayer

George Frideric Handel
Theodora(147 mins)

Image - Photo © Chris Christodoulou

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