Interestingly, I’ve never seen/heard an entire performance of Handel’s Messiah. Today was the day! About 32 musicians of the New York Philharmonic teamed up with the Westminster Symphonic Choir and a team of English soloists to present this annual Philharmonic rendition of Messiah. Each year, the Philharmonic engages an early music expert to lead the orchestra, choir and soloists. This year, Andrew Manze was tapped and provided a very nuanced interpretation. The soloists were all excellent and appropriately dramatic: Joelle Harvey (soprano), Tamara Mumford (mezzo-soprano), Allan Clayton (tenor) and Matthew Rose (bass).
Prior to the performance, I attended the pre-concert talk given by composer Joelle Wallach. While the talk went longer than the usual 30 minutes, it was chock full of history and interesting information about Handel and his composing Messiah. My attendance at the talk definitely helped make for a memorable evening!