Nov 1, 2016

Hallelujah! Tafelmusik’s Messiah and 30th Anniversary of Sing-Along Messiah

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Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir
Directed by Ivars Taurins
Amanda Forsythe, soprano | Krisztina Szabó, mezzo-soprano
Colin Balzer, tenor | Tyler Duncan, baritone

“One of the best Messiahs I have ever heard.”
The Globe & Mail

“Christmas just would not be the same without being part of this beautiful and cathartic event.”
CBC News, Toronto

Toronto, Canada, November 1, 2016 … Toronto’s Hallelujah event returns!  Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choirperforms Handel’s baroque masterpiece, Messiah, on December 14, 15, 16, and 17 at 7:30 pm in the stunning setting of Koerner Hall. A cherished Toronto holiday tradition since 1981, Tafelmusik’s Messiah is conducted by Ivars Taurins, who “pulls out of the score… every moment of drama and beauty hidden within” (The Globe and Mail). Special guests and other surprises are in store for Tafelmusik’s popular Sing-Along Messiah, which celebrates its 30th anniversary onSunday, December 18, 2016, at 2 PM at Massey Hall.

The cast of superb vocal soloists for Messiah and Sing-Along Messiah includes Amanda Forsythe, soprano; Krisztina Szabó, mezzo-soprano; Colin Balzer, tenor; and Tyler Duncan, baritone.

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 professional singers specializing in 17th- and 18th-century music, Tafelmusik’s Messiah “radiates brilliance and energy, along with an emotional depth that fully enhances the work's expression” (AllMusic).

The 30th annual Sing-Along Messiah at Massey Hall on Sunday December 18 is a unique and beloved audience-participation phenomenon led by George Frideric Handel himself (aka Ivars Taurins — in character and meticulously dressed in full baroque costume and powdered wig). Every year, 2,700 audience members fill Massey Hall, and with scores in hand, raise their voices together with those of the choir and soloists. Many families and groups of friends have made Tafelmusik’s Sing-Along Messiah a Yuletide ritual, and leave the concert hall feeling joyful and uplifted. “Tafelmusik, Handel, and the whole audience joined forces to remind me of the real joy that comes out of the music and the message” (Schmopera).

No other Canadian conductor has led as many consecutive performances of Messiah as Ivars Taurins, who has conducted Handel’s masterpiece annually for 35 years with Tafelmusik and other orchestras and choirs across Canada. “Maestro Taurins made magic through his passion, emotions, and movements, setting him apart from any other conductor I have ever witnessed. His presence in the music made Messiah personal and unique in ways unimaginable without having been there to experience it” (BachTrack).

In 2015, CBC Radio’s Ideas invited Taurins to explore Handel’s oratorio with writer and broadcaster Robert Harrisin Messiah Revealeda fascinating hour-long documentary that examines the reasons why this 18th-century work still resonates so powerfully in the 21st.

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.

A live-performance film of Sing-Along Messiah was released commercially on the Tafelmusik Media label in 2012 and is broadcast regularly on the Bravo!, CTV, and WNED television networks.

This season’s cast of Messiah soloists — four renowned singers with a particular affinity for Handel’s expressive, virtuoso arias — include two who are making their Tafelmusik debuts: soprano Amanda Forsythe, “an absolute wonder, able to bring striking precision, agility and dynamic shading to her articulation, and to her coloratura runs and trills in particular” (Seen and Heard International), and mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó, whose “voice is a burnished joy, able to cut through both a 20-odd person chorus and a full orchestra with clarity and beauty” (Globe and Mail). The tenor and baritone soloists are well known to Tafelmusik audiences: tenor Colin Balzer, who is “elegance itself… his singing sophisticated and beautifully shaped" (Calgary Herald), and baritone Tyler Duncan, “who delivered the texts [from Messiah] with a powerful voice and dramatic conviction, enunciating the words with appropriate bite” (New York Times).


Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, founded in 1979, is one of the world’s leading period performance ensembles. The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, under the direction of Ivars Taurins, was formed in 1981 to complement the Orchestra. The orchestra performs some 80 concerts each year at home in Toronto, and travels extensively around the world. The choir and orchestra’s multi-platform recording label Tafelmusik Media was launched in January 2012, along with the Watch and Listen site. Tafelmusik’s discography of 80-plus CDs has been recorded on the Sony Classical, CBC Records, Analekta and Tafelmusik Media labels. Since 1991, Tafelmusik has received nine JUNO Awards and a Grammy Award nomination. Tafelmusik is the Baroque Orchestra-in-Residence at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and operates annual artist training programs, Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute and Tafelmusik Winter Institute. Tafelmusik has been led by Jeanne Lamon since 1981, with Managing Director William Norris joining the team in 2015. In June 2014, Ms. Lamon stepped down as Music Director and continues her association with Tafelmusik as Music Director Emerita.


Tafelmusik wishes to thank the following for their generous support: BMO Financial Group, RBC Foundation, TD Bank Group, John and Margaret Catto, Margaret and Jim Fleck, Great West Life, London Life, Canada Life, Hal Jackman Foundation, KPMG, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Classical 96.3 FM and NOW Magazine. Tafelmusik is a proud partner of the Bloor St. Culture Corridor.

Listing information:

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir presents

Handel’s Messiah:
Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, 273 Bloor Street W.
Wed Dec 14, Thu Dec 15, Fri Dec 16, Sat Dec 17 at 7:30 PM
Regular: From $39 | 65+: From $39 | Ages 35 & Under: From $30
Weston Family Box Office: (416) 408-0208
Sing-Along Messiah:
Massey Hall, 78 Victoria Street
Sun Dec 18 at 2 PM
Regular: From $49 | 65+: From $45 | Ages 35 & Under: From $30  
Massey Hall Box Office: 416-872-4255
Photos: High‐resolution photos of Tafelmusik and Ivars Taurins are available for download in the Media Room at


Media contact:
Luisa Trisi, Media Relations Manager, (416) 456-0499 | | 427 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M5S 1X7
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High‐resolution photos of Tafelmusik are available for download here.