A Christmas tradition; the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Marc David, together with the Philharmonic Choir of the NSO presents Handel’s Messiah. Also joining the NSO are four talented soloists including: Mireille Asselin, soprano; Ryan McDonald, countertenor; Jonathan Monro, tenor; and Gregory Dahl, baritone.
Handel’s Messiah will be released December 22, 2023 at 8pm
The creation of Handel’s Messiah was actually induced by his librettist, Charles Jennens. Jennens expressed in a letter to a friend that he wanted to create a Scriptural anthology set to the music of Handel. His desire quickly turned into reality when Handel composed the entire work in only twenty-four days. Jennens wished for a London debut in the days leading to Easter, however, a doubtful Handel anticipated such a wish would not be granted. A year after the work was completed, Handel received an invitation to perform his music in Dublin to which he joyously agreed.
Messiah was met with eager ears at its debut on Friday, April 13, 1742 at Neal’s New Musick Hall on Fishamble Street. Handel had staged a public rehearsal the day before its premiere, creating quite a buzz. It is reported that hundreds of people were turned away due to lack of space. At its debut, Messiah was actually titled A Sacred Oratorio and all its proceeds were donated to local charities an hospitals for the mentally ill at the request of Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Since its debut, there have been many versions of Handel’s Messiah. Handel himself reworked and edited his score countless times to fit the needs and abilities of his performers. While the true original is lost in a sea of variations, today’s Messiah is as close to the original as music historiographers can agree upon. Though Messiah was originally intended as a thought-provoking work for Easter and Lent, it has become more of a Christmas tradition.