04 January 2010

Messiah 2010

The RSNO’s annual performance of Messiah took place on Saturday afternoon, and it was good to be back among the tenors in the chorus. It is always a very enjoyable experience but this year it was something more: I had a sense of being privileged to be taking part in a memorable performance.

Friends in the audience commented on the energy of the performance and on how well balanced every piece seemed. Of course, that is to be expected when Roy Goodman is conducting: he seemed even more energetic and enthusiastic than ever both in rehearsals and in the performance itself, and I think some of that energy and enthusiasm rubbed off on us. What was not expected was that our soprano soloist, Lucy Crowe, was taken ill. Somehow they managed to get Ailish Tynan to take her place, but you couldn’t tell from her performance that she had stepped in with less than twenty-four hours’ notice! The mezzo, Hilary Summers, gave a very striking performance, as did the tenor, James Oxley. The bass, Michael George, was perhaps less impressive but still gave a good solid performance.

And the reviews have been very appreciative. There was a good review in the Scotsman (here). But Michael Tumelty, who is often quite hard to please, was even more positive in The Herald:
I have never heard, not even from Goodman himself, a Messiah that was so alive to the text. Rather than the music colouring and characterising the text, or being pictorial, it was almost as though the text itself was shaping the music, and, through it, Goodman’s response and its reflection in the performance. . . . This was a Messiah of blazing intensity and unusually gripping drama; and a Messiah, moreover, with absolutely minimal cuts: as near complete as you will hear. Tremendous. (Full review here.)

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