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The English Concert

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Britain’s eminent early-music ensemble returns to Berkeley to perform Handel’s Solomon (1748), a glorious work based on Biblical stories of the great king’s wisdom and justice and the ushering-in of a golden age of peace, piety, and prosperity. Among the composer’s many brilliant English oratorios, Solomon stands out as an especially jubilant and sumptuous work, featuring a double chorus, stunning arias such as “Will the sun forget to streak,” and gorgeous orchestrations like the sprightly oboe-and-strings feature, “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.” The Swedish mezzo-soprano Ann Hallenberg, a beloved Baroque music diva, sings the title role. “Hallenberg’s exceptionally wide-ranging, ruby-color mezzo, with its serene legato and jaw-dropping coloratura, has inevitably made her a go-to artist” (The New York Times).