Messiah (Wigmore Hall, 23-12-14)
‘Tis the season for Messiahs. In keeping with Handel’s original score and the size of Wigmore Hall, this one was done with an 8 person choir which was joined by soloists during Hallelujah and for the grand finale. That’s a choir who worked hard for their money. They blended beautifully and kept a very pleasant individuality of sound.
Sophie Bevan soprano
Hilary Summers contralto
Allan Clayton tenor
James Platt bass
Andrew Griffiths director
Early Opera Company
The whole thing was well oiled and everybody was on. Maestro seems to have gone for gentleness, which was most constantly adhered to by Summers, who was especially moving during He was despised and rejected. But for me the best bits in Messiah are the bass parts. Platt went heroic (within Baroque limits) and rocked the coloratura in an almost flashy (meaning vivid) manner during Why do the nations so furiously rage together. Who doesn’t want to be a bass when listening to The people that walked in darkness? His diction was so good I could understand every word from the last row. Bevan started quite loud and as a consequence turned the choir’s volume up a few notches, but dialed it back to match the size of the hall in the very next bit. She went on to achieve a number of beautiful moments during the night. Clayton was also fine though I’m not the biggest fan of the tenor part in this.
As I was saying, the choir was the star and shone in each of their many numbers. The show was sold out and the atmosphere festive. It was so pleasant, I found myself balancing between emotional and cocooned throughout. It could have only been better had they handed out mince pies in the lobby 😉
Happy Christmas/Holidays to all 🙂