A Messiah for Belfast
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.