by Peter Feher
When it comes to Handel’s oratorios, another repeat isn’t always a welcome thing. But Apollo’s Fire knows how to make an evening exciting, and the group’s reprise performances of the composer’s Israel in Egypt last week — in a streamlined version first presented by the ensemble in 2017 — kept the intrigue factor high.
Artistic director Jeannette Sorrell adapted the Baroque score with certain modern expectations in mind. Her production retains Handel’s solemn opening, achieving a kind of period authenticity, but jettisons much of the repetition and inessential action in the rest of the music. The result is a lean and engaging dramatic arc — less than two hours — that translates 18th-century entertainment for the 21st century.