It wouldn't be the Christmas season without George Frideric Handel's "Messiah," and in Howard County that means a performance by Columbia Pro Cantare on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Jim Rouse Theater at Wilde Lake.
"Handel's 'Messiah' arrives every December and has a worldwide and fabulously successful run," Columbia Pro Cantare music director Frances Motyca Dawson says about this 18th-century oratorio's widespread appeal.
"It has a sense of theater and of great drama. Handel came out of
That explains why Dawson's group has performed "Messiah" every year since 1984.
"It's a great piece of music and I never get tired of doing it," Dawson notes with enthusiasm. "The performers come inspired, because they love doing it. You try to look at it with fresh eyes. It's not necessarily anything the audience will notice, but there are interpretive things."
The edited version of "Messiah" done annually by Columbia Pro Cantare has a running time of approximately two hours. It features the oratorio's Christmas section and portions of Parts II and III. Hearing the Resurrection-themed final section is a reminder of why performances of the work originally were done at
A local tradition of sorts involves the soloists: soprano Amy Van Roekel, mezzo-soprano MaryAnn McCormick, baritone Lester Lynch and tenor Mark Schowalter. With the exception of Schowalter, this is the same lineup of soloists that appeared in "Messiah" last year; for that matter, Schowalter was among the soloists for it in 2008, so everybody is coming back for more.
These soloists have extensive credentials with prestigious companies around the country.
Van Roekel has performed with the
McCormick has sung with groups including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra and Boston Symphony.
Lynch, a renowned Verdi baritone, has enjoyed many appearances with the New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera and other companies. Schowalter's appearances include the Metropolitan Opera, Boston Symphony and National Symphony.
Backing these soloists at the upcoming performance will be the Columbia Pro Cantare Festival Orchestra, organist Henry Lowe and trumpeter Susan Rider.