Handel's Messiah and the Foundling Hospital

Episode 1 of 1

Handel's "Messiah" is one of the most popular choral pieces in Western music. It has been recorded hundreds of times and contains a tune that's as instantly recognizable as any in music. Yet few people know the extraordinary story of how this much-loved piece came to public attention or how it helped save the lives of tens of thousands of children. Thanks to HANDEL'S MESSIAH AND THE FOUNDLING HOSPITAL, that story can now be told. Historian Amanda Vickery (Pride and Prejudice: Having A Ball) and BBC Radio 3 presenter Tom Service host this engaging drama/documentary which re-creates the first performance of "Messiah" at London's Foundling Hospital in 1750 and tells the heart-rending tale of how that special fundraising concert helped maintain the Hospital and heralded a golden age of philanthropy. Exploring historical documents and artifacts, Vickery examines the plight of women in Georgian London and attitudes of the time which led mothers to abandon their babies at the Hospital. Service looks at the momentous trials and tribulations faced by composer George Handel in London, and discovers how he became involved with the Foundling Hospital alongside another philanthropist of the day, the artist William Hogarth. A memorable special, HANDEL'S MESSIAH AND THE FOUNDLING HOSPITAL adds new meaning to one of the most iconic and recognizable choral works in the world.

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5 p.m.
2 p.m.
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