If the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra’s (NSO) annual production of Handel’s “Messiah” isn’t already part of your holiday tradition, the orchestra says, there’s no better time to start.
“This performance will make you want to stand up and shout Hallelujah,” the NSO says in a news release.
The NSO has been presenting Handel’s iconic oratorio for more than 25 years, first presenting it at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in St. John’s during the Christmas of 1987.
There had been other performances of “Messiah” by various groups over the years up until that point, which also marked the start of the NSO’s Philharmonic Choir.
Today, the production includes about 150 people, and many of them are Newfoundland-born or locally-based performers.
This year, the all-star cast of soloists include local natives Meredith Hall and tenor Adam Luther, along with countertenor Daniel Taylor and baritone Tyler Duncan. Many of the performers are “Messiah” veterans.
Hall regularly performs around the world, and has been a guest artist with organizations such asthe Toronto Symphony, Handel and Haydn Society, Cleveland Opera, and Philharmonia Baroque of San Fransisco, to name a few. She has a number of recordings to her credit.
Luther, a recurring featured soloist with the NSO, recently completed his tenure with the Canadian Opera Company Studio Ensemble. Over the past year or so, he has appeared in productions of “Tristan and Isolde,” “Carmen” and “Don Giovanni,” among others.
Montreal-based Taylor — who performed at the 2011 NSO production of “Messiah” — has appeared on four recordings of “Messiah” with the Montreal Symphony and performs worldwide.
He’s artistic director of choir and orchestra conductor with the
Theatre of Early Music in Montreal, and, earlier this year, was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his charity and cultural development work.
Duncan, who made his debut just three years ago, participated in a production of “Messiah” with the Grand Philharmonic Choir in Kitchener, Ont., this past weekend. His resumé includes concerts with the American Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic, among others.
The first year the Basilica’s organ was used for the production was 2011 and it will be incorporated again this year, thanks to organist Stephen Candow.
“This is truly one of the most highly-anticipated events on the NSO’s calendar,” said Neil Edwards, CEO of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.
“This year’s outstanding guest soloists and guest concertmaster (Mark Fewer), in combination with Maestro Marc David, the NSO Sinfonia and the Philharmonic Choir, promise to deliver a very memorable ‘Messiah.’”
“Messiah” will take place Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $28 ($25 for seniors) and are available at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre box office, by calling 729-3900, or online at www.artsandculturecentre.com, as well as at the door, pending availability.