Hot tip for today: race down / jump on to Ticketek and snap up tickets for our performance of Handel’s Messiah this Saturday 14 November.
Tix are selling strongly, especially with the publication of a Canberra Times interview with guest conductor Graham Abbott (Voices transport Messianic spirit) and fascinating stories about early Messiah performances by Ian Warden (Hallelujah for Handel’s Messiah and When Handel did a number on us all).
Graham Abbott is now in Canberra for the final rehearsals and has already delivered exactly what we expected: magic. This will mark Graham’s 72nd time conducting Messiah — exactly twice as many as Handel himself! If you love Messiah and know it back-to-front, you really don’t want to miss hearing it conducted by the maestro. And if Messiah is still a bit of a mystery, Graham is absolutely the best person to reveal its wonders to you!
Or as an Adelaide review put it:
CONDUCTOR Graham Abbott wrapped up a package that could take pride of place under any Christmas tree.
His own scholarly research into Handel and his oratorio Messiah permeated every note, setting tempi and dynamics for maximum dramatic effect, shaping cadences so that no opportunity to display the composer’s limitless gifts was wasted.
Already known as unmatched in its telling of the birth and death of Christ, Messiah, in Abbott’s fearless hands, revealed even greater emotional range: the grand gestures of triumph and tragedy were all there, as well as occasional fleeting glimpses of a lively wit.
The Advertiser, December 2010
We’re also looking forward to meeting all our soloists, especially young soprano Janet Todd, who has stepped in after Penelope Mills had to withdraw for medical reasons. Janet made her debut with Victorian Opera in 2011:
Janet Todd, soprano
“The standout performance of the production is Janet Todd’s Pamina. This was one of those times in the theatre when a jaded middle-aged audience gets a jolt of electricity as it is struck by a great new talent for the first time. ”
The Herald Sun,
19 March 2011
And what have reviewers been saying about our other soloists?
Tobias Cole, Alto / Counter-tenor
“The unchallenged star of the afternoon … was the magnificent counter-tenor Tobias Cole. … His utterly weightless melisma, perfect trills, flawless intonation and ornamentation cast a spell over the audience each time he took the stage. … It is rare to find a counter-tenor of this calibre anywhere in the world, rare even on the great stages of Europe, and I hope we all realise just how lucky we are that Cole chooses to live and work here in Canberra.”
City News, June 2013
Robert Macfarlane, Tenor
“Comfort Ye has never sounded more reassuring, Thou Shalt Break Them more threatening, and Thy Rebuke more heartbreaking”
Andrew Collis, Bass
“His is the quintessential bass, fit for all the magisterial roles that demand moral fortitude and authority … [he] seemed to lend the performance as a whole, a feeling of absolute assurance and the kind of religious certainty that Handel’s audience expected.”
Middle C – Classical Music Reviews, Wellington, New Zealand, December 2012
Do get your tickets ahead of time if you can. When Graham Abbott conducted us in Haydn’s Creation last year, the word got out and over 150 people turned up to buy tickets on the night! This year we’ve already had two sellout concerts in our program…