Experience Handel’s Messiah like never before

A one-of-a-kind performance of Handel’s oratorio Messiah is coming to Oudtshoorn this December.

Handel’s Messiah has become one of the most frequently performed choral works in Western classical music and has enjoyed a continuous performance tradition since its premiere.

On Friday 8 December 2023 at 18:00, audiences in Oudtshoorn can experience a return of this oratorio to the version presented at the first performances in Dublin on 13 April and 3 June 1742. This will be presented by the Cape Town Baroque Orchestra (CTBO), directed from the harpsichord by Erik Dippenaar, and sharing the stage with the singers of Lutesong Consort.

According to Dippenaar, similar musical forces to that of first performances will be showcased. “The audience can look forward to baroque stringed instruments and continuo, natural trumpets and timpani, as well as an ensemble of twelve professional singers, with soloists singing the choruses and a return to the smaller scale chamber music feel of the first performances.”

Gracing the stage on a vocal front are Lutesong Consort singers Lynelle Kenned, Elsabé Richter & Louise Howlett (sopranos), Lente Louw, Nick de Jager & Minette du Toit-Pearce (altos), Jason Atherton, Willem Bester & Levi Alexander (tenors) and Aubrey Lodewyk, Keaton Manwaring & Patrick Cordery (basses). They will be joined by renowned Austrian natural trumpeters Raphael Pouget and Julian Ritsch. Pouget is returning to South Africa for a third collaboration with CTBO, following performances at the 2018 and 2019 Cape Town Baroque Festivals.

“This will be a momentous event in the South African performance history of Messiah, since the full 1742 Dublin version is very rarely performed here on period instruments. Come hear Messiah like you’ve never heard it before,” Dippenaar concludes.

This choral masterpiece, supported by the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) and Klein Karoo Klassique, is presented at the Civic Centre in Oudtshoorn on Friday 8 December 2023 at 18:00.

Tickets are available online from Webtickets, or in-store at Pick n Pay with prices starting from R100 per ticket. For more information, contact the KKNK office at 044 203 8600, via email at info@kknk.co.za or send a WhatsApp to 065 285 2337. Click here to buy your tickets.

The 28th KKNK takes place in Oudtshoorn from 23 to 31 March 2024, with the 15th Klein Karoo Klassique presented in Oudtshoorn from 9 to 11 August 2024.  

A brief history of Handel’s Messiah In 1741, George Frideric Handel travelled to Dublin to give a series of concerts, which was so successful that a second series was soon organised. In early March of the next year, Handel began preparations for a charity concert to be given in April 1742, at which he intended to present the premiere of his new oratorio Messiah, composed between August and September 1741. Messiah was performed several times during Handel’s lifetime, and he made numerous revisions to the work for almost every performance.

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