A few photos from today’s Messiah Sing-Along with Tafelmusik
As usual, a wonderful concert. The stars this year were the soprano, Sherezade Panthaki, and the tenor, Charles Daniels. Panthaki said, in an interview before the concert, “Using one’s own body as a resounding, vibrating instrument creates a feeling of great euphoria that we singers enjoy and treasure!”–and boy, did she ever convey that. She did some absolutely stunning coloratura improvisation within her two airs, particularly in “Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion” that drew loud cheers at the conclusion of each. Daniels had a rather quirky manner about him, but this emphasized the amazing precision he had with each note, even in long, fast runs. He also improvised to great effect. Alto Kristina Szabo was also outstanding, although the alto airs do not give quite as much to work with from a bravura standpoint. I was a little disappointed in bass Drew Santini. He was by far the least experienced with the Messiah of the three (all three of the other soloists had performed it in the triple digits; he had sung it just eight times), and it showed. The bass showpiece is “The Trumpet Shall Sound”, and unfortunately, the trumpet sounded over his voice on a number of occasions. He just didn’t seem to yet have the stage presence and the volume needed to succeed in a large hall.
I will be happy when the event is able to move back to Massey Hall. Roy Thompson Hall is a much more sterile place, although the crowd did its best to liven things up and the accoustics were not bad per se–it just wasn’t Massey Hall, with its warm wood and Victorian decoration. Herr Handel himself made a crack about the ceiling looking like something from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
But once again I am reminded how lucky I am to live in a city with a sing-along Messiah presented by one of the world’s best Baroque orchestras.