Handel Festival in Halle cancelled

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Composer’s native city is under seven metres of water

The Handel Festival in Halle has been cancelled due to severe flooding, with some areas of the city under seven metres of water.

The festival has been held in the city – where Handel was born – since 1922. Of the composer’s 42 operas, 40 have been performed as part of the festival.

This year’s edition was due to take place from 6-16 June at over 30 locations and around 40,000 visitors were expected. The programme included performances of Handel's oratorio Messiah, and his operas Alessandro and Acis and Galatea.

But over recent weeks much of central Europe has been badly flooded and in Halle itself the river Saale has burst its banks.

The organisers announced that the festival was to be cancelled in a statement on the website in which they also asked for understanding from all those hoping to attend.

Emily Bray