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Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Presents "Handel's Wicked Queen" 

When: Sat., April 18, 7:30 p.m. and Sun., April 19, 7 p.m. 2009
Price: $30-$72

It's an early music bonanza in Berkeley this week. Is it because I'm married to a Gemini that I can't decide between Cal Performances' QuatuorMosaïques, a superb, justifiably renowned period instrument string quartet playing works by Mozart and Schubert; MusicSource's Gramophone winning harpsichordist James Johnstone playing Gibbons; or Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra'srare presentation of Handel's oratorio Athalia? Vocal queens like me will go for George Frideric's wicked queen, and an all-star cast that includes Dominique Labelle, Marnie Breckenridge, Céline Ricci (a young McGegan find, new to me), Robin Blaze, Thomas Cooley (another McGegan find), and Roderick Williams. Lots to discover and savor here.At First Congregational Church (2345 Channing Way, Berkeley) on Saturday, Apr. 18 (7:30 p.m.) and Sunday, Apr. 19 (7 p.m.). $10-$75. Philharmonia.org or 415-392-4400


— Jason Victor Serinus

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