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For the first time ever, Handel’s Athalia will be performed in Australia this June. 

The plot revolves around the Biblical Queen Athalia, who was the daughter of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. The play follows the dramatic events of Queen Athalia’s life as she strives to annihilate the Jewish line of kings descended from David, while the high priest Joad does everything in his power to thwart her violent reign. 

The story delves into the deep psychological themes of Queen Athalia’s nightmares featuring her murderous mother and the challenges facing Joad and his wife, Josabeth, who are secretly raising Joas, the rightful heir to the throne who Athalia thinks has been killed. 

Director Lindy Hume said she is excited to be directing the show because Handel is her favourite composer and Athalia in particular explores deep psychological themes. 

“I love directing Handel because of his innate humanity and theatricality, even in his oratorios,” Ms Hume said. “One of the fascinating things about this work is that it deals with complexities between parents and children.” 

The strong characters within this production are what makes it compelling.  

“Athalia is very powerful of course,” Ms Hume said. “But Josabeth is equally complex in her own way. Her quiet grief is covering up an enormous rage which comes out at the end, so it’s interesting to see her emerge. And of course, the boy Joas is very charismatic too – he represents both innocence and the political future, and those two things are mutually exclusive, as we know.”

Jun 21-26. City Recital Hall Sydney, 2 Angel Pl, Sydney. $93-183+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.opera.org.au

By Erika Echternach