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Handel's Messiah

The tradition that connects Handel’s Messiah with the Christmas holiday has nothing to do with the oratorio’s origins. It was originally designed as a piece for Passion Week, leading up to Easter.

The work was composed over the period of a month in 1741, six months before its premiere in Dublin at a new concert hall, where several of Handel’s operas were also performed. Even the dress rehearsal was ticketed, and the morning newspapers excitedly reported that the oratorio “far surpasses anything of that nature, which has been performed in this or any other Kingdom.” Ladies were asked to attend without hoops and gentlemen without swords, to increase the capacity of the hall. The premiere was a triumph; the Dublin Journal proclaimed, “The sublime, the grand, and the tender, adapted to the most elevated, majestic, and moving words, conspired to transport and charm the ravished heart and ear.” Nearly 300 years later, Handel’s Messiah still provokes joy, and UMS’s 139th year of presenting the oratorio — representing only about half of the work’s entire history — still fills audiences with emotion for both the beauty of the piece and the pride of hearing friends and colleagues from the community bring this glorious work to life.
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When and Where


December 2017

8:00pm - 10:00pm
2:00pm - 4:00pm

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