Toronto, Canada, November 16, 2015 … Toronto’s “Hallelujah Event” returns to Koerner Hall! On December 16, 17, 18 and 19, 2015, at 7:30 PM
, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir
performs Handel’s baroque masterpiece, Messiah
, under the direction of Ivars Taurins
. Tafelmusik’s popular Sing-Along Messiah
takes place on Sunday, December 20, 2015
, at 2 PM
at Massey Hall
. The stellar cast of international vocal soloists includes English soprano Joanne Lunn
, Greek-Canadian mezzo-soprano Mary-Ellen Nesi
, English-German tenor Rufus Müller
, and American baritone Nathaniel Watson
Tafelmusik’s Messiah is a profoundly moving experience in the style and spirit of Handel's own productions. Performed by the orchestra on period instruments, and sung by a choir of 23 singers specializing in 17th- and 18th-century music, Tafelmusik’s Messiah has become a cherished tradition for Toronto audiences since 1981.
No other Canadian conductor has led as many consecutive performances of Messiah as Ivars Taurins, who has conducted Handel’s masterpiece annually for 34 years with Tafelmusik and other orchestras and choirs across Canada. CBC Radio’s Ideas has invited Taurins to explore Messiah with writer and broadcaster Robert Harris in an hour-long documentary scheduled for national broadcast on Tuesday, December 8.
This season’s cast of Messiah soloists — four renowned singers with a particular affinity for Handel’s expressive, virtuoso arias — include soprano Joanne Lunn, who “laid her luminous, clear voice on ‘I Know That My Redeemer Liveth’ with a gossamer touch” (Toronto Star) in her 2012 Tafelmusik appearance. Making her Tafelmusik debut is mezzo-soprano Mary-Ellen Nesi, "equal to all the technical and musical demands of numbers written for Handel’s most outstanding virtuosos” (International Record Review). The tenor and baritone soloists are well known to Tafelmusik audiences: Rufus Müller, "... easily the best tenor I have heard in a live Messiah" (New York Times), and baritone Nathaniel Watson, whose “lively voice has a commanding presence and a beguiling drama about it” (Washington Post).
On Sunday December 20, Tafelmusik hosts its 29th annual Sing-Along Messiah at Massey Hall — 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, and with scores in hand, raise their voices together with those of the choir and soloists. Seating is General Admission, by voice part.
A live-performance film of Sing-Along Messiah was released commercially on the Tafelmusik Media label in 2012 and has been broadcast on the Bravo!, CTV and WNED television networks. Taurins received a 2011 Gemini Award nomination for his portrayal of Handel in Sing-Along Messiah.
Tafelmusik’s Messiah has been heard around the world, thanks to a live recording of the complete Messiah made in Koerner Hall, “a finely played and sensitively directed performance … one of the best-played recordings of Messiah” (Gramophone), released on the Tafelmusik Media label in 2012. A Best of Messiah album featuring highlights from Handel’s baroque masterpiece was released in 2014.