Mes­siah Mad­ness

A guide to this month’s Han­del heavy-up

Toronto Life - - Culture -

the Soul­ful han­del Dec. 7 to 9, Fleck Dance Theatre

Bal­let Cre­ole per­forms to Grammy-win­ning record pro­ducer Quincy Jones’s more mod­ern ver­sion of Han­del’s or­a­to­rio. The joy­ful, dance-along ren­di­tion in­cor­po­rates tap, African-Caribbean, bal­let, jazz and con­tem­po­rary styles.

the well-rounded han­del Dec. 17 to 23, Roy Thom­son Hall

Ge­orge Frid­eric Han­del’s fa­mous or­a­to­rio made its stage de­but in Dublin in 1742. Now, it’s one of the most per­formed cho­ral works in the Western world. The Toronto Sym­phony Orches­tra of­fers a ro­bust, well-paced take on the sea­sonal sta­ple, with the Toronto Men­delssohn Choir tack­ling the richly con­tra­pun­tal cho­ruses and a quar­tet of soloists bring­ing many plan­gent arias and en­sem­bles to life.

the Clas­sic han­del Dec. 18 to 21, Ko­erner Hall

Canada’s pre-em­i­nent clas­si­cal orches­tra, Tafel­musik, per­forms a ren­di­tion of Han­del’s work that’s as close to the 18th-cen­tury orig­i­nal as you’re likely to get. Un­der the spir­ited di­rec­tion of choir founder Ivars Tau­rins, four soloists, a small cham­ber choir and the orches­tra com­bine ex­u­ber­ance with pin­point in­to­na­tion to em­pha­size the in­ti­macy of Han­del’s work with­out sac­ri­fic­ing any of its power.

the han­del Sin­ga­long Dec. 22, Roy Thom­son Hall

Ama­teur cho­ris­ters get their chance to let loose at this an­nual mass sing-along, backed by the Tafel­musik orches­tra. It has its share of laughs, thanks to a stand-in Herr Han­del on the podium (a.k.a. mu­sic di­rec­tor Ivars Tau­rins cos­tumed in a white pow­dered wig and 18th-cen­tury glad rags).

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