xVancouver Chamber Choir
Handel's Messiah: The Christmas Masterpiece

Date and Venue December 12, 2014 8pm | Orpheum Theatre

Conductor Jon Washburn

Featured performers Pacifica Singers, Vancouver Chamber Choir & Orchestra

Special guest soloists Monica Whicher (soprano), Allyson McHardy (mezzo-soprano), Benjamin Butterfield (tenor) and Stephen Hegedus (bass-baritone)

Reviewer Ed Farolan

It was once more a prolonged standing ovation for this long but intense delivery of this oratorio which VCC presents every odd year. This is indeed the world’s favourite choral masterwork. The climax comes at the end of the second part when all stand for the Hallelujah which made Handel and Messiah "the greatest success story in the history of choral music," according to John William Trotter.

In many performances, the crowd gets to sing the Hallelujah, but Jon Washburn wanted to keep it the traditional way with only the chorus of more than 40 singers delivering it. Despite the 2.5 hour show, the audience was kept intensely focused on the performance of these two wonderful choirs, the VCC and the Pacifica singers. The soloists also did a magnificent job, accompanied by the flawless fluidity of the instrumentalists, especially the string performers, of the Vancouver Chamber Orchestra.

Handel's Messiah narrates the story of Christ, from the prophecies of the Old Testament, to his birth, life, death and resurrection in the New Testament. Thus, this piece can be performed in Christmas or Easter.

It was a jam-packed Orpheum for this one-evening show, and everyone left the theatre in the spirit of Christmas, exhilarated from the wonderful delivery of this classic choral composition.

© 2014 Ed Farolan