First performance of Messiah tonight

After several weeks’ practice, we start our annual round of *Messiah * concerts tonight in the Opera House. It will be a very busy period, with performances tonight, tomorrow night, Sunday afternoon and the following Thursday night. Ticket sales are progressing nicely, so we could be looking at four full houses. Then the choir gets a well-earned summer break until we start practising in February for the first concert of our 2005 season.

“Three things in life are certain: Death, taxes, and playing second violin in the Messiah.”

(Apocryphal. :wink: )

Well, we’ve had our first performance, and it wasn’t one of our better efforts, I’m afraid. A whole series of events conspired against us. The usual pre-Christmas Friday night traffic was exacerbated by heavy rain and various police emergencies. As a result, at 7.00pm, our scheduled starting time, we were missing at least 20% of the choir and orchestra, as well as the soprano soloist. The start was delayed until about 7.30pm, but the audience was still dwindling in at 8.00pm, and that was quite offputting. Then, just as we were getting up a head of steam, a baby started to cry somewhere in the audience. Goodness only knows how the ushers allowed the woman to come in with a baby! Anyway, she had to get out from the very middle of the auditorium, causing another distraction. The performance never really picked up after that. We’re all hoping that tomorrow night’s will be a lot better.

Is this the full Messiah, or just Part I + Hallelujah Chorus?

Not for me! I’m playing second violin in “the Nutcracker”. :stuck_out_tongue:

And I’ve somehow gotten roped into playing the organ for a school carol concert - haven’t been near any manuals since last century… :smack: …

Hey, some of that stuff ain’t easy. I have yet to hear a good playing of “Oh, Thou that Tellest” and “Rejoice Greatly”.

The full Messiah, naturally. I’ve never heard of anyone in Australia doing just Part I plus the *Hallelujah * chorus.

Last night’s (Saturday’s) performance was fantastic - one of the best I’ve ever done. From the first downbeat the energy and intensity was there. Absolutely 10 out of 10. Now to see whether we can scale such glorious heights again in this afternoon’s matinée.

Filling out a tax return isn’t a piece of cake, either - but is it a challenge you relish? :wink:

It’s standard Yuletide fare in the the US, alas.

Do people stand up for the Hallelujah Chorus in Australia too?

This thread is better suited for Cafe Society. I’ll move it for you.

Cajun Man
for the SDMB

Break a leg!

The full Messiah, naturally. I’ve never heard of anyone in Australia doing just Part I plus the *Hallelujah * chorus.

Over here in the States Messiah is usually divided into separate performances at the nonprofessional (i.e., community/school/church chorus) level. Part I and the “Hallelujah” are usually performed during the Christmas season. Part II (minus the Hallelujah in some instances) is performed during Easter. Very rarely will you hear said chorus groups performing Messiah in its entirety.

I haven’t sung anything Messiah for a number of years. Back when I did in university/community/church choruses, it was the highlight of the year. Handel’s my most favorite composer :slight_smile:

You got old, you could no longer Handel the high notes.

Argh! Bad pun!

The full Messiah does go on for a while, which your average US audience doesn’t particularly want to sit through.

[Tangential anecdote]

I was at a party last weekend in which the hosts and most of the guests were professional or reasonably competent amateur musicians, and the hostess had invited people to bring their instruments and perform. I had forgotten to bring any music but around 10pm (and after several beers) was browbeaten into giving an impromptu performance of “For who may abide/For He is like a refiner’s fire”. Which, to my great surprise, I nailed, probably more helped than hindered by the alcohol. The similarly tipsy accompanist, likewise browbeaten, had a much worse time of it.

The Brahms lieder at 2am were a hit too. :cool:


It’s a pity that American choirs tend to sing only a truncated version of Messiah. Most of the best music is in parts 2 and 3.

And yes, in Australia the audience always stands for the Hallelujah chorus.

Here’s the review from this morning’s *SMH * of last Friday’s first *Messiah * performance. It’s pretty fair, I think. The reviewer certainly sensed how unsettled we all were after the chaotic start to the evening.

Last week was our annual Messiah Sing-a-long, which we attend faithfully (that is, if we’re not traveling for the holidays). Terrific fun (though I made the mistake of going in cold, without even a CD run-through to kickstart the memory banks).