REVIEW: Harrogate Choral Society’s The Messiah, Royal Hall

Ailish Tynan of Manchester Camerata

Ailish Tynan of Manchester Camerata

Harrogate Choral Society, under its conductor Andrew Padmore and with the Manchester Camerata, made a welcome return to the Royal Hall for its performance of Handel’s greatest choral work, Messiah, to a large and appreciative audience.

This return was most welcome as, for many, this performance forms the start of their Christmas celebrations.

From the start, it was obvious that this was going to be a rather special evening of music.

The Overture was very neatly played with neat double dotting and then a crisp and sparkling Allegro.

The choice of soloists for the evening was excellent. Sarah Power, soprano, delivered beautiful and sensitive renderings of How beautiful are the feet, and I know that my Redeemer liveth and, in contrast, a lively and exciting Rejoice Greatly with clearly articulated semiquavers.

Hannah Mason, mezzo-soprano, brought a richness of quality to her arias, and carried a beautifully crafted line in O Thou that tellest good tidings to Zion. Andrew Gavin, has a delightful lyric tenor voice, warm in Comfort ye my people and yet able to deliver powerfully in Thou shalt break them.

This was a lovely young and fresh voice and a great asset to the soloist group. The bass soloist in Messiah has responsibility for the rather serious sentiments and the quality of Andrew Mahon, bass-baritone voice was excellent in this role.

Andrew Padmore had prepared the society to the highest of standards and they repaid by producing some of the most exciting singing the Society has produced in many months whilst the Manchester Camerata, led with dynamic authority, played with grace, beauty and an extremely high standard of musicianship in all departments.

This was a very good Messiah and we must thank Andrew Padmore and his performers for a wonderful performance of this marvellous and enduring work.