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Chorale and Chamber Orchestra to feature Handel’s “Messiah”

Michelle Fordice | Thursday, November 29, 2007

With its stunning music and triumphant celebration, Handel’s “Messiah” is one of Christmas’ most long lived and beloved traditions, and Notre Dame’s Chorale and Chamber Orchestra make it their own in their annual performance of the work. It is no surprise that the show sells out nearly every year. Handel’s “Messiah” is a fantastic piece for every audience member. Its elegant and exciting melody, spotlight on the choir, soloists and orchestra, each in turn, and familiarity make it a great performance for frequent attendees of classical musical performances and new audience members alike. Those familiar with the work can hear the Chorale and Chamber Orchestra’s own interpretation of the piece. For those testing the waters of classical music, as the Church of England’s “Book of Common Prayer” serves as the source of the libretto, the piece is in English, making it easily approachable. Besides, who hasn’t heard the popular “Hallelujah” chorus at least once? The universality of “Messiah” is one of the best reasons for its longevity. Because of its frequent performance, “Messiah” is often reinterpreted; directors often choose only certain parts to perform. In past years, director Alexander Blachly chose for his choir to sing primarily Part I, which focuses on texts about the prophecy of and birth of Jesus Christ, and Part II, which focuses on texts about Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. He also included two numbers from Part III, which focuses on texts about general resurrection, and ended with the most famous section of “Messiah,” the “Hallelujah” chorus.The Chorale is Notre Dame’s 55-voice official concert choir, which specializes in works that range from the Renaissance to the present, including pieces by Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Stravinsky. The Chamber Orchestra is a select ensemble of students that performs both with the Chorale in its on-campus concerts and independently in its own concerts. Handel’s “Messiah” by the Notre Dame Chorale and Chamber Orchestra is certain to be one of the best performances in the DPAC this season, so don’t miss out. Performances will take place in the Leighton Concert Hall of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. today and Saturday. Tickets are $3 for students, $8 for faculty and staff, $6 for seniors and $10 for general audience. To purchase tickets, contact the DPAC ticket office at 574-631-2800.