Germany’s Handel Prize Announces 2023 Winner
Italian mezzo-soprano Anna Bonitatibus will receive the award in recognition of her performances of Handel’s music
Named for German-British composer George Frideric Handel and in honor of his legacy, the Handel Prize of the City of Halle is awarded by the Handel House Foundation annually for special cultural, political, scientific, or artistic achievements related to Handel and the promotion of his music.
Italian mezzo-soprano Anna Bonitatibus will be presented the honorary award during the next edition of the Handel Festival from May 26–June 11, 2023, which will have a focus on opera. Each year, the award nominations are decided by a board of trustees from the City of Halle.
Bonitatibus will also receive the Handel Prize pin — created in 1994 by the jewelry designer Silke Plathe and is made of gold and enamel, also displaying a musical note from Handel’s Messiah oratorio.
“[This award honors Anna’s] boundless enthusiasm with which she has been interpreting Handel's music for years and her passionate commitment, which also leads to the performance of lesser-known works,” said the Handel House Foundation.
“I am deeply grateful and moved,” Bonitatibus posted on Twitter.
It was Bonitatibus’ first recording of Vivaldi’s opera La Griselda in 1992 that bolstered her career. She was soon regarded as one of the best in baroque opera, particularly Handel’s music. Across the years, she has performed in ten of Handel’s operas — the most recent being Radamisto on her recent 2021/22 European tour.
Since her debut at Milan’s La Scala in 1999 in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Bonitatibus has performed a wide range of works including early baroque, bel canto, and over 70 operas alongside conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Myung Whun Chung, Antonio Pappano, and René Jacobs, in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls and opera houses.
Bonitatibus will open the Handel Festival singing in Handel’s opera Serse. Titled “The Opera: Controversy over Dideldum and Dideldi,” the 2023 edition of the festival will include operas and oratorios featuring the Handel Festival Orchestra, Staatskapelle Halle, and special guests.
Handel was born in Halle in 1685, but spent most of his life in London until his death in 1759. Halle attracts thousands of visitors each year specifically for his music. Until 2018, all 42 of Handel’s operas were performed in his hometown at the Handel Festival, making Halle the first city in the world where all his operas have been staged.