Take a Stand — for Handel's Messiah, If You Like
Will you rise or remain seated when the Hallelujah chorus unfurls its melodic splendor?
Tuesday, Dec. 12
The story goes that at the first performance of Handel's Messiah, the opening chords of the Hallelujah chorus were so majestic that the audience leapt to its feet, assuming the grandeur of the music indicated the arrival of the king. Possibly apocryphal stories tell of a similar tale, indicating that the audience stood because that same king, George II, was in attendance and stood first (etiquette dictated none could remain seated in the presence of His Majesty).
Whatever the truth of these legends — and they are rather dubious — there is no denying that George Frederic Handel's Messiah, a 259-page oratorio whose text comes from the King James Bible and whose instrumental composition took the composer less than a month, is one of the most popular and recognizable pieces in all of classical music. And now, with the arrival of the holiday season, the Erie Philharmonic and the Erie Philharmonic Chorus are delighted to bring their rendition of Messiah to the incomparable First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, where the exquisite stained-glass windows will no doubt complement the auditory experience in ways both uplifting and inspirational.
Under the direction of Phil conductor Thomas Brooks, the orchestra and choir will feature additional guests soloists, including mezzo-soprano Joan Marie Peitscher, baritone Edward Pleasant, tenor Wesley Lawrence and soprano Elizabeth Baldwin, and the hour-and-a-half performance will take place in the beautiful main sanctuary of the church.
Will you rise or remain seated when the Hallelujah chorus unfurls its melodic splendor? Audiences have been split since the aforementioned legends became popular knowledge, but if you find yourself unable to resist the passion and excitement of the locale and the performance, and you leap to your feet, who could blame you? — Cara Suppa
7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. // 250 W 7th St. // eriephil.org/messiah // $10 students, $20 adults