“Messiah” with Handelian size forces

By Philippa Kiraly

This time of year, we hear Handel’s “Messiah” sung in myriad venues with forces of all sizes and professional levels, but we rarely hear it done as Handel himself was apt to hear it, as in its initial performance in Dublin in 1742.

Thanks to The Tudor Choir and Seattle Baroque Orchestra who have joined once more to perform it, we heard it again Saturday night as it might have been performed then, and in a place, Town Hall, of somewhat similar size to the New Music-Hall in Fishamble Street, Dublin.

With an orchestra of 19, a chorus of 15, and four soloists plus a conductor, The Tudor Choir’s Doug Fullington, it could have been thought beforehand that this would be a thin, sparse performance.

Far from it. This was exciting, rich, warm, full of vitality and emotion. The performers sang or played their hearts out, notably the two tenors front and center of the chorus, one of whom was doing double duty and singing bass as well when he could fit it in.

All in all, this was a performance to savor. Let’s hope Seattle Baroque and The Tudor Choir join again for this at Town Hall next year.


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