Michael Francis, conductor
Helene Brunet, soprano
Allyson McHardy, mezzo-soprano
Matthew White, tenor
John Brancy, baritone
The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay
Brett Karlin, artistic director
For nearly 300 years, one work has brought audiences to their feet in the ultimate celebration of holiday joy: Handel’s Messiah, with its divine “Hallelujah” chorus.
• The oratorio is sung in English and was originally an Easter offering, but now it’s a fixture at Christmastime in churches and concert halls around the world.
• Messiah is Handel’s most famous work, though it didn’t take long to compose, only about three or four weeks. Debuted in Dublin in 1742.
• The story goes that when Handel wrote the “Hallelujah” chorus, he exclaimed through tears: “I did think I saw heaven open, and saw the very face of God.”