A Mes­siah for Belfast

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

MES­SIAH Waterfront Hall, Belfast Tonight/to­mor­row 7.30pm £8-£25 048-90239955 A BAROQUE CHRIST­MAS NCH, Dublin Mon 8pm ¤20 01-4170000 It’s been more than five years since Celso An­tunes (above) re­signed as artis­tic di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Cham­ber Choir. He hasn’t con­ducted in Dublin since and, in fact, has only made two Ir­ish ap­pear­ances since 2007. Both were in Belfast, and it’s Belfast he’s re­turn­ing to this week, for the two an­nual Mes­siah per­for­mances at the Waterfront Hall by the Belfast Phil­har­monic Choir and the Ul­ster Orches­tra. The line-up of soloists is Ruby Hughes (so­prano), Lu­cia Du­chonova (alto), John McMunn (tenor), and Bene­dict Nel­son (bari­tone).

By cu­ri­ous co­in­ci­dence, it’s ac­tu­ally in Mes­siah that An­tunes made his Ir­ish de­but, back in 1998, with the Na­tional Cham­ber Choir and the Ir­ish Cham­ber Orches­tra.

The Na­tional Cham­ber Choir and its cur­rent artis­tic di­rec­tor, Paul Hil­lier, can also be heard this week, team­ing up with the Ir­ish Baroque Orches­tra on Mon­day for A Baroque Christ­mas at the Na­tional Con­cert Hall. Han­del is no­table by his ab­sence, and the pro­gramme features in­stead works by Bach, Bux­te­hude, Corelli, Mou­ton and Marc-An­toine Char­p­en­tier.

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