Singers join NZSO to perform Messiah
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.