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Handel Halle Festival

The Handel Festival in Halle is the only festival in Germany to take place at authentic venues such as the Handel House, the Cathedral, the Market Church and many more. No other baroque music festival offers 5 to 6 staged baroque opera productions in just 17 days and shows the entire range of Handel’s oeuvre; his work enters into a dialogue with jazz, classic rock and electro sounds as well as non-European music within the framework of bridge-building. Also, Halle (Saale), often underestimated, is a beautiful place to visit.

About the festival

Naturally, the focus is on the operas of George Frideric Handel. Exactly 100 years ago in Halle, Oskar Hagen, who did a doctorate at the university here, nurtured the idea of staging a Handel opera for the first time in more than 170 years.

The Handel Festival will be celebrating its founding one hundred years ago with a sparkling array of events ranging from grand opera and solemn oratorios through to cross-genre events. The festival will open with a new production of the opera Orlando, which was the first Handel opera to be performed in Halle and in 1922 closed the “Hallisches Händelfest”, as that festival was called. Numerous other operas, oratorios and concerts will make the 17 days of the festival a high point for Baroque music fans. Rounding out the programme are a number of exciting and innovative events that break down all barriers between “serious” and “popular” music. Numerous famous stars of Baroque music, including any number of Handel Prize winners from past years, will be joining in the centenary celebrations with music in Halle.

With 67 main events and numerous accompanying events in Halle and the surrounding region, the tradition-steeped Handel Festival once again guarantees a superlative and diverse programme in 2022.

Where is it?

Handel Festival Halle is the largest music festival in the state of Saxony-Anhalt and one of the oldest and most famous Baroque music festivals in Europe. Nowhere else in the world do lovers of Baroque music have the opportunity to experience so many stage and concert productions of Baroque opera in the space of just 17 days. One special feature of the Handel Festival in Halle is that a number of different events take place in authentic Handel venues.

How to get there?

By plane: The nearest airports to the Handel Festival Halle are Berlin and Leipzig/Halle.

By train: There is an excellent train connection between Berlin and Halle (Saale).

Local transport: Most hotels and festival locations are within walking distance from Halle (Saale) main station.

Venues

“Music in authentic venues” is the slogan of the Halle Handel Festival, during which the whole city will once again be turned into a stage. Ceremonies and concerts will take place at the Handel monument and the Red Tower, as well as different churches in the city. The festival will also include open-air performances on Marktplatz, the Botanical Garden, as well as on board the MS Händel II.  The closing concert will take place in the Galgenberg Gorge, where the centenary will be celebrated with a grand fireworks display!

But besides these new, innovative formats, tradition continues to loom large at the Handel Festival. In this centenary year, several concerts make reference to the festival’s roots, taking place in the banqueting hall of the Leopoldina, in the Löwengebäude, Ulrichskirche, as well as to the large-scale church concert in Moritzkirche.

Dress code

There is no specific dress code. Due to the variety of events you might want to take some casual and some elegant clothing, if you plan to visit several events. The weather in Halle in May/June tends to be changeable, and not too hot – from 11°C to 22°C.

What can tourists visit nearby?

Halle (Saale) offers a lot of attractions for visitors: the famous Castles Moritzburg (an art museum) and Giebichenstein (an art college), the beautiful Saale island “Peißnitz”, the Francke Foundations’ baroque architecture and historical collections, the romantic Renaissance cemetery Stadtgottesacker and, of course, the Handel Monument on Market square and Handel’s birthplace nearby: the Handel House and museum.

Local accommodation

Halle (Saale) has a few hotels, which normally accommodate the Festival guests and visitors. As the Handel Festival is a magnet for visitors, we recommend booking far ahead in advance.

Food & drink

Apart from Walking Dinner and Lunchtime concerts there are no restaurants onsite, but lots in town to be explored. It is usually recommended to book in advance. 

The Saale-Unstrut-area is a region for quality wine and one of Europe’s northernmost traditional wine regions. In March 2022 the restaurant “Speiseberg” has been awarded with a star of the “Guide Michelin”.