Toronto, Canada, November 26, 2012 … The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir and Orchestra, led by Chamber Choir Director Ivars Taurins, usher in the festive season with intimate and uplifting performances of Handel’s baroque masterpiece, Messiah at Koerner Hall December 19 to 22.
Tafelmusik’s Messiah distinguishes itself from other local performances of Handel’s masterpiece in that its reach has become world-wide, thanks to a new live recording of the complete Messiah made last year in Koerner Hall and released on the Tafelmusik Media label. Individual tracks from this recording are also available to stream live from Tafelmusik’s Watch & Listen site.
Tafelmusik’s Messiah is a profoundly moving experience in the style and spirit of Handel's own productions. This year’s cast of soloists includes the exquisite British soprano Joanne Lunn, who is renowned in Europe for her work with period ensembles; Canadian mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy, whose performances last season in Handel’s Hercules wowed Tafelmusik audiences and critics; and two young American singers, the “utterly compelling” (The Guardian) tenor Aaron Sheehan; and Douglas Williams ,“a bass-baritone with a superb sense of drama,” (New York Times).
On Sunday December 23, Tafelmusik performs its 26th annual Sing-Along Messiah at Massey Hall. Tafelmusik’s Sing-Along Messiah is a unique Toronto audience-participation phenomenon led by George Frideric Handel himself (aka Ivars Taurins — in character and dressed in full baroque costume). Each year, 2,700 audience members fill Massey Hall to the rafters, and with scores in hand, raise their voices together with those of the choir and soloists. Seating is General Admission, by voice part. Taurins received a 2011 Gemini Award nomination for his performance as Handel in the live-performance film of Sing-Along Messiah, broadcast on the Bravo! television network and available on DVD on the Tafelmusik Media label.
Founding director of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, Ivars Taurins was also violist of the Tafelmusik Orchestra for its first 23 years. Principal Baroque Conductor of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra from 2001 to 2011, Taurins also appears as guest director with orchestras and choirs across Canada. In September 2011, he was guest choir director for the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, preparing a combined chorus of Tafelmusik Chamber Choir and members of the OSM Chorus for performances and a recording (Analekta) of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, directed by Kent Nagano at the gala opening of the new Maison symphonique in Montreal. Taurins was director of the 2012 National Youth Choir, the 2000 and 2009 Ontario Youth Choirs, the 2003 Nova Scotia Youth Choir, and the 2004 Alberta University & College Choir. Taurins teaches orchestral conducting and directs the early music ensembles at the University of Toronto. He is director of the vocal/choral programme at the annual Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute.
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, led by Music Director Jeanne Lamon and founded in 1979, is one of the world’s leading period performance ensembles. The orchestra performs over 50 concerts a year at home in Toronto, tours extensively around the world, has released over 80 CDs and has received nine JUNO Awards and a Grammy Award nomination. Tafelmusik Media, the choir and orchestra’s multi-platform recording label, was launched in January 2012. Tafelmusik is the Baroque Orchestra-in-Residence at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto where it hosts its annual Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute. The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, under the direction of Ivars Taurins, was formed in 1981 to complement the Orchestra. The 2012/13 touring season brings Tafelmusik’s two most recent multi-media concerts, The Galileo Project and House of Dreams, to audiences across North America.