RESOUNDING SUCCESS A sell-out audience was treated to a stirring performance of Handel’s Messiah, courtesy of three choirs, four soloists and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.
Thousands attend Handel’s Messiah at national Marian shrine
A sell-out audience of over 3,000 people from all over Ireland, the UK and further afield attended an epic performance of Handel’s Messiah on Saturday, November 18, at Knock Basilica. The concert’s audience included both the Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, and the Most Rev Michael Neary DD, Archbishop of Tuam.
The trumpet did indeed sound with the basilica’s inaugural performance of this, the world’s most-famous and beloved oratorio, renowned for stunning choruses and arias. Following last year’s sell-out performance of the Concert for Peace, presented by the Mayo International Choral Festival and attended by the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and Sabina Higgins, Knock Basilica saw the return of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra to present the iconic piece, so associated with the Christmas.
This was a sensational evening of delightful and thrilling music-making as celebrated conductor Proinnsías Ó Duinn led the orchestra and a 180-strong choir, which saw two of the best choirs in Ireland – Mayo’s own multi-award-winning Cór Mhaigh Eo and the Ballina Chamber Choir – join forces with the Dublin-based Our Lady’s Choral Society. This was complemented by an incomparable line up of international soloists, soprano Claudia Boyle, tenor Julian Hubbard, bass Christopher Cull and alto Anne Marie Gibbons, a native of Louisburgh.
Overflowing with the most exciting choral writing, thundering timpani and blazing trumpets, and in the true spirit of the piece, the Messiah saw a packed Basilica all rise to their feet for the universally recognised ‘Hallelujah Chorus’. The appreciative audience rose to their feet once more at the end for a lengthy standing ovation for all elements, from the organists to the soloists, the choir to the orchestra, and of
Speaking following the performance a delighted Fr Richard Gibbons PP, Rector, Knock Shrine, said: “This is the culmination of eleven months of careful planning by many people in many areas. I would like to thank not only the Knock Shrine staff and volunteers, but also the many individuals and local businesses who have contributed to the success of the evening.”
The concert, presented by ‘the voice of Lyric Notes’, Liz Nolan, was recorded and will be broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM on Christmas Day, at 1pm.