For one week only a display in the Handel Gallery explores Israel in Egypt, performed on 1 August for BBC Proms
Israel in Egypt is one of Handel’s most dramatic oratorios, telling the biblical story of Moses’ deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. The libretto consists entirely of passages from the Old Testament and is popularly attributed to Charles Jennens, who prepared the libretto for Handel’s Messiah. This display case presents three objects related to the work, including recitatives from the oratorio copied by Handel’s secretary John Christopher Smith, whose portrait hangs in the Museum. Alongside this is a hand-written programme for an “Evening Concert” performed for King George III on 13 March 1796, that includes excerpts from the work.
Israel in Egypt was first performed at the King’s Theatre in London on 4 April 1739, the same year that Thomas Coram gained a Royal Charter to set up the Foundling Hospital. It is staged on Tuesday 1 August for Prom 23, as part of BBC Proms 2017. The case is on display at the Museum until Sunday 6 August.