Singers join NZSO to per­form Mes­siah

Manawatu Guardian - - STEPPING OUT -

Four ex­cep­tional New Zealand singers will join with the New Zealand Sym­phony Orches­tra for a per­for­mance of Han­del’s ora­to­rio The Mes­siah in Palmer­ston North on Sun­day.

The fes­tive sea­son favourite, best known for its much-loved Hal­lelu­jah Cho­rus, will fea­ture so­prano Mar­lena Devoe, mez­zoso­prano Elis­a­beth Harris, tenor Filipe Manu and bass Ben­son Wil­son, along with ac­claimed choral group The Tu­dor Con­sort.

It is re­ported the four singers are adored by the crit­ics.

Devoe was hailed for her “sub­tle and glo­ri­ously full­blooded” per­for­mance this year as Mimi in NZ Opera’s La Bohe`me. Harris “sings with con­vic­tion and verve, en­gag­ing her au­di­ence with in­ten­sity of ex­pres­sion and a strik­ing stage pres­ence”.

This month The Guardian praised the “con­vinc­ing part­ner­ship” of Manu and Wil­son in a Guild­hall School of Mu­sic and Drama pro­duc­tion of Cosi Fan Tutte in Lon­don.

The Tu­dor Con­sort’s per­for­mance comes af­ter a suc­cess­ful Euro­pean tour.

The Mes­siah will be con­ducted by English­man Ni­cholas McGe­gan, hailed as one of the finest baroque con­duc­tors in the world.

Among Mae­stro McGe­gan’s many achieve­ments, he has been mu­sic di­rec­tor of the Phil­har­mo­nia Baroque Orches­tra since 1985.

When he re­cently an­nounced that he would re­tire from the po­si­tion in 2020, The New York Times said he had trans­formed the Orches­tra into one of the best pe­riod in­stru­ment en­sem­bles in the United States.

Ge­orge Frid­eric Han­del’s Mes­siah was first per­formed in Dublin in 1742. The com­poser was look­ing for ways to cre­ate novel and com­pelling mu­sic and for The Mes­siah to be en­joyed by ev­ery­one, whether they were no­bil­ity, landed gen­try or com­moner.

Fol­low­ing the pre­miere, The Mes­siah was so well re­ceived that within a few years it was reg­u­larly per­formed and is now one of the few works from the mid-1700s that has had a con­stant per­for­mance his­tory.

To­day it is one of the most per­formed or­a­to­rios in the world and one of the best known. It was even rein­ter­preted in gospel, blues, jazz, R&B and hip-hop for the 1992 al­bum Han­del’s Mes­siah: A Soul­ful Cel­e­bra­tion, fea­tur­ing Ste­vie Won­der.

■ Han­del’s Mes­siah, Re­gent on Broad­way, 3pm De­cem­ber 9.

From left: Mar­lena Devoe, Elis­a­beth Harris, Filipe Manu and Ben­son Wil­son per­form with the New Zealand Sym­phony Orches­tra on Sun­day in the Re­gent on Broad­way.

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