No borders for Belfast’s Mes­siah

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Listings - MICHAEL DER­VAN

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.

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