Preparing the way for Handel"s "Messiah"
Handel"s ""Messiah" has been identified with the Christmas season for nearly two centuries.Boston"s Handel and Haydn Society gave the American premiere in 1818 and has been performing it during the holiday season every year since 1854. Conductor Martin Pearlman and Boston Baroque gave Boston the modern premiere of the complete work with early instruments 24 years ago, and its performances have also become a perennial local favorite.
There is a great tradition of amateur performances of ""Messiah," but both H&H and Boston Baroque perform the work with professional soloists, choristers, and instrumentalists. The approaches of the ensembles are very different, but there is usually some overlap among the participants. This year, seven chorus members and 13 orchestral players will participate in both of the city"s signature ""Messiah" productions. We talked to four singers and one instrumentalist who have been involved with each organization"s ""Messiah," and who aren"t tired of it yet.