No borders for Belfast’s Messiah
BELFAST PHILHARMONIC CHOIR, UO/MARTIN HASELBÖCK Waterfront Hall, Belfast Fri, Sat 7.30pm £10-£24 048-90668798 The Ulster Orchestra and the Irish Chamber Orchestra are the two Irish institutions which, more than any others, have broken away from the pattern which has seen Handel’s Messiah entrusted largely to Irish and British conductors. It was the ICO’s adventurousness in this regard which first introduced Irish audiences – and the National Chamber Choir – to the work of Celso Antunes. And the Ulster Orchestra, working again with the rejuvenated Belfast Philharmonic Choir, this year places Handel’s much-loved oratorio in the hands of an Austrian, Martin Haselböck (left), following on from a Finn, Tuomas Ollila (replacing an indisposed American, David Agler, in 2005), and Thierry Fischer from Switzerland (in 2001).
Soloist line-ups in tend to be rather more international, and the one for this weekend’s Belfast performances – Deborah York (soprano), David DQ Lee (counter tenor), Benjamin Hulett (tenor) and José Antonio Lopez (bass) – is no exception.