George Frideric Handel was the most popular composer in England, a German transplant whose lush operas, in the Italian style, delighted London audiences.
But by the late 1730s, Italian opera was falling out of fashion and Handel, bowing to financial pressures, focused his talents on oratorio. Though similar in structure, oratorio lacked opera’s sets and costumes, making it much less expensive to produce. It also met the emerging appetite for English-language music.
At 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, through Washington University Choirs, presents the annual sing-along to “Messiah” (1741), the best-known of Handel’s oratorios and one of the most beloved works of holiday music.
The performance, which will include the Christmas portion of “Messiah” as well as the “Hallelujah Chorus,” will take place in Graham Chapel and last about an hour.
Those who wish to may sit in special sections arranged according to voice type (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone), though those who choose not to sing are also welcome to attend. Copies of the music will be available for those who do not bring their own scores.
Nicole Aldrich, director of the Washington University Choirs, conducts the program. Soloists will include soprano Tamara Miller-Campbell, mezzo-soprano Debra Hillabrand, tenor Zachary Devin and bass Mark Freiman. Organist will be Mary Hitchcock-Reinhart.
Graham Chapel is located immediately north of the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. For more information, call 314-935-5566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.