Sing Along with George in Photos

A few photos from today’s Messiah Sing-Along with Tafelmusik

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Waiting to begin.  Not Herissony Cat’s first rodeo.
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Herr Handel appears….
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And seems a little overwhelmed by this new hall…No worries.  He assures us that it’s named after the painter Tom Thompson.  He’s a patron of the arts, after all, and he’s heard of him.
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A messenger hands George a telegram…
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It’s from God. Apparently George has the wrong Thomson…it’s ROY Thompson Hall.
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After a short rehearsal with the audience, it’s down to business.
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The alto soloist has a pretty fab dress.
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Talking about the pifa, and this time there are real Italian pipes to demonstrate.
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These two violinists are ready for a German Sparkle Party.
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After the intermission.  George has a new outfit, and he’s not enjoying his customary claret.  Apparently doctor’s orders.
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The footman has just explained that what he’s putting in his hot chocolate are MARSHmallows, not swampmallows.
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So George takes a whole lot of them. The footman is amused.

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.

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