A feast of a Belshazzar

Handel’s Belshazzar, written as an oratorio, was staged at the Aix-en-Provence festival in 2008.  It works really well as a stage work.  The plot is straightforward but dramatic.  Impious Babylonian king Belshazzar is being besieged by the virtuous Cyrus of Persia.  Babylon is impregnable but a combination of Babylonian impiety and divine intervention on behalf of Cyrus(*) leads to Cyrus’ capture of the city, the death of Belshazzar and, almost incidentally, the liberation of the Jews.

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