Opera premiere raises £1200 for Ukraine appeal

The UK premiere of Cristiano Lidarti's Ester at Hampstead Garden Suburb Free Church

The UK premiere of Cristiano Lidarti's Ester, the earliest known oratorio with a Hebrew libretto, took place at Hampstead Garden Suburb's Free Church on Sunday - Credit: Courtesy of Hampstead Garden Opera

Hampstead Garden Opera's British premiere of the first Hebrew Oratorio raised £1200 for the Red Cross Ukraine emergency appeal.

Based on the Old Testament book of Esther, Cristiano Lidarti's 1774 score was performed at the Free Church in Hampstead Garden Suburb on Sunday.

While living in Italy, Lidarti was commissioned by Amsterdam's Sephardi congregation to compose a new setting for Rabbi Jacob Saraval's Hebrew libretto. But the score never reached its destination and it was never performed. It turned up 200 years later in manuscripts acquired by Cambridge University and was performed in Italy and France, but never Britain until now.

Conducted by Andrew Griffiths, with soloists from recent HGO's productions, the performance of T’shuat Yisrael al Yedey Ester – The Salvation of Israel by the Hands of Esther took place three days before the Jewish festival of Purim, which celebrates the story of Esther. Audience members enjoyed Purim cakes and donated generously to the Ukraine appeal.

Visit hgo.org.uk/ester/