Vancouver Bach Choir
Handel's Messiah

Date and Venue 14 December at 8pm | Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Featured Performers Vancouver Bach Choir, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Music Director Leslie Dala, Soprano Rachel Fenlon, Mezzo-soprano Sylvia Szadovszki, Tenor Martin Sadd, and Baritone Aaron Durand.

If you're a Catholic, this would be probably categorized as a High Mass, where the priest and deacons would be the soloists, and the choir would be like any choir in any Christian Church, Catholic or Protestant. When you see and hear Handel's Messiah in a non-Church setting, something changes. You lose the spirituality that is intended for this piece which was written to be sung in church. I felt that, after watching the VBC and VSO performance at the Orpheum last Saturday, that there was something missing.

It may probably be because of the acoustics. Unlike the acoustics of a church, especially a cathedral, where the sounds reverberate all throughout, I beieve that in a space like the Orpheum, you might need microphnes to get the sound vibrating. I was sitting at the back of the orchestra section, and I couldn't feel any spirituality in the piece. The only part where the audience woke up was when they had to stand for the "Alleluia!" at the end of the second part. Everything after that was anti-climactic. Maybe if the audience joined in singing the "Alleluiah!" and ending the concert there, perhaps that would have made the concert end in a more powerful note. .

There have been many interpretations of this piece, and sometimes, it ends with the "Alleluiah!" This is because this is quite a long composition lasting more than two hours. In this day and age, any concert over two hours will get the audience restless.

© 2013 Ed Farolan