Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Sir Andrew Davis conductor
Jacqueline Porter soprano
Catherine Carby mezzo-soprano
Andrew Goodwin tenor
James Clayton bass
Handel (arr. Davis) Messiah
About this performance
A festive favourite is reinvigorated by Sir Andrew Davis’ new orchestration, in its second performance in Australia.
Sir Andrew Davis sang Handel’s Messiah as a boy soprano, and his reorchestration is a labour of love. Davis describes his aim as to “clothe the work with all the colours available from a modern orchestra; as a result [he has] used such instruments as alto flute, oboe d’amore, harp and some percussion including marimba and even sleigh bells!”
Messiah contains the famous “Hallelujah!” chorus which has been quoted in popular culture since its creation. A few years after its premiere in 1742, Messiah became an Easter time fixture, performed to raise funds for the Foundling Hospital in London. The oratorio has never fallen out of favour and is commonly performed around Christmas.
Rather than follow a specific biblical narrative, the text of Messiah is taken from various passages in the Old and New Testament. The vibrant arias and recitatives bring colour and urgency to the subject matter, with Handel utilising visceral word-painting throughout.
Duration: approx. 165 minutes including interval