Portsmouth artists set to put unique spin on Handel’s Messiah

St Mary's Church in Fratton
St Mary's Church in Fratton
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  • Portsmouth choirs and orchestras to tackle the famous Handel’s Messiah this month
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MORE than 200 performers are set to come together to deliver a unique Mariah Carey-inspired performance of a famous musical piece later this month.

A range of different choirs and orchestras will come together to perform a ‘Pompey version’ of Handel’s Messiah in aid of musical charities on March 18 from 7pm at St Mary’s Church in Fratton.

We are exploring the tension between the spirit of the 1812 performance and the letter of Handel’s Messiah and trying to capture audience reactions to compare them with those of the past

Dr George Burrows

It is part of a research project exploring the reactions to diva performances and is based on a discovery of a programme by Dr George Burrows, a principal lecturer in performing arts at the University of Portsmouth.

The programme contained annotations by an audience member during a previous performance of Messiah in which the viewer made comparisons between Angelica Catalani and Mariah Carey’s vocals.

He said: ‘The performance in itself is research.

‘We are exploring the tension between the spirit of the 1812 performance and the letter of Handel’s Messiah and trying to capture audience reactions to compare them with those of the past.

‘Handel’s Messiah has always brought people together to make music and support charity. Messiah has been performed in Portsmouth since the later 1700s, when it helped pay for the building of a new church.

‘It brought some of the nation’s best musicians to the city to perform alongside local choirs and instrumentalists and helped establish a series of music festivals.’

The performers featuring in the spectacle are from the University of Portsmouth Choir, Solent Symphony Orchestra, Portsmouth Cathedral Choir, St Mary’s Church Choir and soloists from the Royal College of Music.

Dr Burrows added: ‘We are going to recreate the large scale Messiah from 1812 complete with our own Angelica Catalani – Rebecca Silverman.’

Tickets for the event can still be purchased at onlinestore.port.ac.uk or by calling (023) 9284 3023.

An exhibition of the performance is on display at Portsmouth Guildhall.