Fans have two dates to enjoy the New Mexico Philharmonic’s performance of Handel’s “Messiah” just in time for the holidays.
An abbreviated Baroque version of the orchestra will play Handel’s masterpiece on Saturday and Sunday at Immanuel Presbyterian Church and at Faith Lutheran Church, respectively. The Coro Lux Oratorio Society will sing with the Faith Lutheran Church Chancel Choir.
This year’s soloists will come from the choir, conductor David Felberg said.
“They are a professional chorus,” he said. “The symphony performed with them last spring.
Handel composed his “Messiah” in Dublin as his stellar career was dwindling. Seeking a new approach, he was determined to embrace the new English tradition of oratorio. The results would become one of the most popular and oft-performed pieces in classical music history.
“The music is really extraordinary,” Felberg said. “Handel’s setting of the texts are so colorful and picturesque. In general, it’s so evocative.”
When Handel completed his famous “Hallelujah” chorus, he ran downstairs and exclaimed to a servant, “I think I did see Heaven before me and the great God Himself!”
“When you get to the ‘Hallelujah Chorus,’ everybody just bursts into song,” Felberg said. “The audience stands. It’s a universally loved piece.”
A conductor and violinist, Felberg is the associate concertmaster of the New Mexico Philharmonic and assistant director of the University of New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. He is the founder and conductor of the Chatter chamber music ensemble.
The soloists will include sopranos Kathryn Anderson, Rebecca Brunette, Rebecca Jackson, Shelly Ley and Krista Vrapi. The mezzo-sopranos are Kristen Hutchinson and Kim Kraut, with Jonathan Davidson serving as tenor. Alfredo Beltran and Joe Mitchell will sing bass.