Wellington Choral Society is returning Handel’s ‘Messiah’ to its origins as a celebration of Easter in its performance on Saturday, 24 March 2018, at St John’s Church, Wellington.
Many will know ‘Messiah’ from its regular performance at Christmas but fewer will know that it was written in just 24 days in 1741 for its first performance in Dublin. Audiences were asked to leave hooped skirts and swords at home to ensure a capacity audience and panes of glass were removed from the windows to cool the venue. Today, a free, annual, open-air, lunch-time abbreviated concert is sung at the original location of Fishamble Street, Dublin. An annual performance is also held in Halle, Handel’s birthplace, with pan-global singers applying to join the chorus.
The London premiere in 1743 scandalised the public with its sacred subject being performed in a theatre. It only became popular after a 1750 charitable performance in aid of the London Foundling Hospital.
In 1859 a performance at Crystal Palace was filled with 2,500 singers and an audience of 20,000;
The tradition of standing for the Hallelujah Chorus is said to have begun when King George II, for whatever reason, stood during this section… or maybe not! There is no contemporaneous evidence to prove he was at the London premiere so it is up to the individual to decide if they are a “traditional stander” or a “rebellious sitter”.
Tickets are on sale at Odette’s Tearoom, from TicketSource and on the door.
There will be a retiring collection in aid of the Somerset Trust for Arts and Recreation (STAR) a Charity providing opportunities to the most disadvantaged young people aged 5-25 through music, art and recreation. Handel would no doubt approve of this as his portion of the proceeds went to two Dublin hospitals and a debtor’s prison.
Further information: www.wellingtonchoralsociety.org.uk