MISSION & HISTORY.
Scandal and celebrity were at the heart of 1740s Dublin, where musicians' reputations were built and the buildings resonated with a wealth of new music being performed.
"I cannot sufficiently express the kind treatment I receive here, but the Politeness of this generous Nation cannot be unknown to you, so I let you judge of the satisfaction I enjoy, passing my time with Honour, Profit and Pleasure".
Handel wrote these words to the librettist Charles Jennens (known for his work on the libretto for ‘Messiah’) in 1741, during his time in Dublin. The city afforded him a period of artistic rehabilitation during which he re-worked several of his pieces for Dublin performances, including ‘Esther’, ‘L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato’ & ‘Acis and Galatea’.
Handel’s visit to Dublin will forever be associated with the first performance of Messiah at Fishamble Street in 1742. This monumental work has gone on to become one of the greatest and best loved works of Western Art Music, to the extent that it has eclipsed Handel’s other significant achievements during his stay in the stay in the capital.
Founded in 2021, the Dublin HandelFest is a gift from the Irish Baroque Orchestra to the city of Dublin. It is an opportunity to enjoy and reclaim this small but important chapter in the city’s cultural heritage, and we hope that you will celebrate it with us for years to come.