Mayo Concert Orchestra. Pic: Michael McLaughlin
Church walls to reverberate with Handel’s rousing oratorio
Handel’s classic and much-loved Messiah will be staged at the Church of the Holy Rosary, Castlebar, on Sunday, November 25, at 7pm.
Performed jointly by the Vocalessence Choir and Mayo Concert Orchestra, it will be a historic occasion, as it’s the first time a local Mayo orchestra has performed the musical masterpiece composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel.
Messiah was first performed in Dublin on April, 1742, receiving its London premiere nearly a year later.
After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in western music.
The Castlebar concert will be headlined by the accomplished voices of soprano solist Regina Nathan, mezzo solist Anna Louise Costello and tenor soloist Seán Tunney, while the compere is RTÉ newsreader Eileen Dunne.
Regina Nathan’s career in opera, concert and recital has taken her from her native Ireland across Europe, and as far as Kuala Lumpur and New York’s Carnegie Hall.
A devoted recitalist, Regina’s talents also embrace everything from classic Lieder to traditional Irish song.
She has enraptured audiences throughout Ireland, London’s Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room, the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and, famously, with Placido Domingo in a sold-out audience at Dublin’s Point Theatre.
Her recordings include Britten, Complete Folk Song Arrangements (Hyperion), Mahler’s Symphony No 8 (BMG), Donizetti’s Maria de Rudenz (Opera Rara) and of course Faith of our Fathers, alongside Frank Patterson
Regina divides her time between Dublin, Berlin, London and her home in Co Clare.
Irish mezzo-soprano Anna-Louise Costello is a graduate, with distinctions, of the DIT Conservatory of Music, Dublin, and the Royal Academy of Music, London.
Since launching her professional career in 2009, she has made a big name for herself in the world of classical and opera singing, performing at prestigious concerts in Hamburg, Berlin, London and Oslo.
Seán Tunney, who is in his early 20s, is starting out on his career. A native of Castlebar, he is a graduate of St Gerald’s College, where he set a very high standard for musical excellence during his time there under the tuition of teacher, Ms Jennifer Hiney. Now he is looking forward to his first major performance in his home town.
Mayo Concert Orchestra was founded by George Lee in 1995, in conjunction with members of Castlebar Concert Band. Lee retired as musical director in 2016, along with his wife Mary, who played violin with the orchestra since its initiation. Many original members remain, however, playing alongside newer members to form a kaleidoscopic cast – people of all walks of life and all ages, including shop and sales people, artists, teachers, retired people, secondary-school students, factory workers, administrators and a church leader. The orchestra’s ethos of inclusivity, passion and community embodies the spirit of this oratorio, which is so associated with Christmas.
Tickets (€20) are available from IT Music, Cavendish Lane, Castlebar; The Connaught Telegraph offices, Main Street, Castlebar; or the concert’s box office on 087 6218282.