And once again, Monday is here! Although, it’s the last Monday morning of getting up for work in 2019. In fact, the last Monday getting up for work in this decade! That’s slightly scary now I think about it… But today I wanted to share with you my experience of the Messiah at Christmas show at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall.
The Ulster Orchestra bring their annual performance of Messiah at Christmas at the Waterfront Hall this December with Conductor Ruben Jais.
What could be more uplifting than the power and glory of massed voices, combined with the Ulster Orchestra?
Handel’s Messiah continues to captivate audiences worldwide and remains one of the most widely-performed and best-loved oratorios ever written. This year it is brought to life by four acclaimed soloists, the magnificent Belfast Philharmonic Choir and of course, the Ulster Orchestra.
The above is taken from the Waterfront’s ticket page advertising the event for this year, and how right could it be? The power and glory of massed voices combined with the Ulster Orchestra truly was the most uplifting this I could have imagined doing on Saturday night.
Back in August or September, I can’t quite remember which, I decided that for my Granny’s birthday this year we would do something together, rather than give her a present as such. After hours of browsing through suggestions, I hit upon Messiah at Christmas – an annual show at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. Having never been to it before, and not actually knowing the music it would entail, I decided to buy Granny the tickets as her birthday present, and we arranged to go out for dinner before hand.
When we got to the Waterfront, it did seem like the average age of the audience was approximately 80… but there were a few people my age or slightly younger. We had perfect seats – dead centre, ground floor, 6th row. Close enough to see the faces of everyone in the orchestra, and mostly see the choir. I was slightly surprised at the empty seats around us, but that thought was quickly put out of my head as the lights went down and the conductor walked out on stage.
If you’ve never listen to Handel’s Messiah, it’s kind of hard to explain. But the music was glorious to listen to. The orchestra was predominantly strings, with a couple of oboes, trumpets, drums and a harpsichord, and it took up the majority of the space on the stage. My eyes didn’t know where to look as I listened to the harmonies going on amongst each section, never mind the harmonies within the sections themselves!
The choir was large, and to be honest I was a little confused at the start by the set up of it. Sopranos stage left, with the tenors beside them, bass in the middle, and altos stage right. Am I just in a weird choir where the altos are stage left? Anyway, that didn’t really matter. What did matter was the sound, and they sounded heavenly (if you pardon the pun!).
Finally, there were 4 soloists – Emma Morwood (Soprano), Filippo Mineccia (Countertenor), Andrew Toritse (Tenor), and Malachy Frame(Bass) – all of whom sang beautifully. Filippo’s range astounded me, Andrew’s voice was beautiful, Emma positive glowed as she started to sing, and the depth of Malachy’s voice for someone so young (well, he looks young – we didn’t get a programme so I can’t be sure) was incredible.
Overall, I had a wonderful night. I left the hall feeling so festive, I almost headed round to the Christmas Market for a mulled wine! Except it was cold and late so instead we just taxied back to Granny’s house. This is one show I think everyone should go and see at some point, even if you don’t think it is necessarily your type of music. Even just to marvel at the orchestra and be transported to a different world by the voices of the choir. Never mind the fact I am now searching for the 4 soloists on Spotify in the hope of hearing more of them.
Have you been to see this before? Or will you be looking at tickets for next year? Let me know in the comments below, and hopefully you all have a lovely Monday!