Messiah1 min note
One Minute Note
In the month of December, we often associate gracious acts of charity with the joyful holiday season. Thus it seems appropriate that Handel’s great oratorio, Messiah, has become an integral part of Christmas celebrations, because it was written for inclusion in a series of Dublin concerts benefiting public causes; the first performance of Messiah in 1742 raised an impressive £400 for charity. Beginning in 1750, he led popular annual performances of the work for the benefit of London’s Foundling Hospital Chapel, to which he donated a pipe organ in addition to bequeathing a copy of the score and parts to Messiah.
The German composer had spent most of his later years in London and was well known for his operatic and courtly compositions. Handel may not have considered himself a composer of sacred music, but it is reported that Messiah so moved him that after completing the “Hallelujah Chorus”—with tears streaming down his face—he declared: “I did think I did see all Heaven before me and the great God himself.” Over the next 250 years Messiah secured a place as one of the most beloved compositions in the entire orchestral and choral repertoire, and as one of Handel’s most enduring and endearing works.
The Grammy Award-winning Minnesota Orchestra, now in its second century, ranks among America’s top symphonic ensembles, with a distinguished history of acclaimed performances in its home state and around the world; award-winning recordings, broadcasts and educational engagement programs; and a commitment to intentionally build concert programs to feature more works by composers of color, exploring music both contemporary and historic. This fall, Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård begins his tenure as music director.
British conductor Christopher Warren-Green is music director of the London Chamber Orchestra in the U.K. and conductor laureate and artistic adviser to the Charlotte Symphony in North Carolina following a 12-year tenure as music director. Warren-Green is chair of the Foundation for Young Musicians and in 2022 he celebrated a professional career spanning 50 years.
Vocal dexterity aligned with a strong theatrical instinct and excellent musicianship have been key to Georgia Jarman’s numerous successes, in roles spanning lyric and bel canto repertoire alongside a growing reputation in 20th century works and new commissions.
Noted for his “shimmering voice” (Bachtrack), Grammy-nominated American countertenor Reginald Mobley is globally renowned for his interpretation of Baroque, Classical and modern repertoire, and leads a prolific career on both sides of the Atlantic.
An honours graduate and choral scholar from New College, Oxford, Toby Spence studied at the Opera School of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He was the winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society 2011 Singer of the Year award.
Possessing a “big, rich bass voice” that “brings chills” (MinnPost), bass Benjamin Sieverding has launched a promising career that touches upon more than three centuries of repertoire. He has gained notice for his “resonant, expressive bass” (Star Tribune) and for a range of characterizations spanning from “wickedly charming” (l'étoile magazine) to “genuinely threatening” (Phindie).
The Minnesota Chorale has served as the Minnesota Orchestra’s principal chorus since 2004 and is now in its 29th season under the leadership of Kathy Saltzman Romey. Founded in 1972, the Chorale is Minnesota’s preeminent symphonic chorus, with a roster of over 200 singers. Best known for its work with the two major orchestras of the Twin Cities, the ensemble is equally dedicated to programs that build and enrich community. A seasoned artistic partner, the Chorale continues to explore new artistic directions and collaborative opportunities, while earning the highest critical acclaim for its work on the concert stage. In 2018, members of the Chorale traveled to South Africa to perform alongside the Minnesota Orchestra in its historic concerts in Soweto and Johannesburg.
Plan your visit
Pre-Concert Performance by Twin Cities Bronze
When: Fri Dec 8 | 7:15-7:45pm
Where: Target Atrium
Twin Cities Bronze is a performing ensemble specializing in the music and art of English handbells. Selected by annual audition, this ensemble of advanced ringers hails from the metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN.
Know Before You Go
An engaging performance awaits, and the fun doesn’t stop there. Make this visit your own with food and activity options. Browse these helpful tips, and when your concert date arrives, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy.
Directions & Parking
All the information you need to know for getting to and from Orchestra Hall. Parking is just steps away from Orchestra Hall in the city-owned and skyway-connected 11th and Marquette Ramp.
Skip the lines at the bar! Pre-order your intermission beverage via the Minnesota Orchestra App when you arrive at Orchestra Hall.
- Armless & Bariatric Chairs
- Assistive Listening Devices
- Large-Print Programs
- Noise-Cancelling Headphones
- Service Animals
- Wheelchair & Accessible Seating
Additional services are available upon request.
The Minnesota Orchestra is grateful to Orville C. Hognander, Jr. for supporting Handel’s Messiah in this program
The 2023-2024 Classical Season is presented by Ameriprise Financial.