UW-Parkside presents complete Handel’s “Messiah”
The University of Wisconsin-Parkside Music Dept. presents two performances of George Fredric Handel's masterwork "Messiah" Saturday, Dec. 6, and Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008. The program features the Voices of Parkside, the university's chamber choir, and Master Singers, UW-Parkside's campus and community choir, led by Dr. James B. Kinchen. Saturday's performance is held in Milwaukee's magnificent Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist Church while Sunday's program is held in the university's Communication Arts Theatre.
Best known for "The Hallelujah Chorus" which has brought audiences to their feet for more than 250 years, Dr. Kinchen said "Messiah" has much more to offer than just one song.
"It's a wonderful piece of music that really lives up to the hype. It is as good as people say it is," Dr. Kinchen stated. "Add the fact that we're able to share the whole thing; we're not doing some kind of expurgated version of it."
"Messiah" tells the story of Jesus in three movements. The first movement is about the Messiah's birth with soaring songs like "Every Valley shall be Exalted" and "For unto us a Child is Born." The second movement is about Jesus' ultimate triumph over death. This movement closes with "The Hallelujah Chorus." Part three is the shortest and most joyful portion; music Dr. Kinchen said is worth staying to enjoy.
"If anybody comes to the performance just to hear 'The Hallelujah Chorus,' that's fine," Dr. Kinchen acknowledged. "But this concluding part with 'Worthy is the Lamb' and the 'Amen Chorus' is the most jubilant and triumphant music in this piece. If you miss that you will have missed the crown piece."
Featured soloists include soprano Amy Bouterse and alto Allison Hull, Peter Voigt is the tenor, and bass is provided by Will Barrett Johnson. The chorus of 65 is, Dr. Kinchen noted, larger than any chorus that performed the piece while Handel was alive. He added the decision to hold auditions to find the area's best voices and the dedication of the singers who practiced at home between rehearsals makes him confident that audiences will be impressed.
"I expect this to be our best performance ever," Dr. Kinchen stated.
Saturday's performance begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist located at 812 N. Van Buren St. in Milwaukee. Dr. Kinchen called the Cathedral an awe inspiring place with perfect acoustics. Sunday's program begins at 3:30 p.m. in the university's Communication Arts Theatre. Prior to Sunday's performance, UW-Parkside student Lindsey Shank presents "Behind the Messiah" a look at the history of the piece from the time it was written in 1741 to the present. This program begins at 2:30 p.m.
Admission to "Messiah" is $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Family admission, which includes two adults and an unlimited number of children, is $25.For more information, call the UW-Parkside Music Dept. at 262-595-2457.