Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra Performs Handel's MESSIAH with Providence Singers, Today

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra welcomes the Providence Singers to the stage for their tenth joint performance of Handel's Messiah. Providence Singers Artistic Director Christine Noel takes the podium as guest conductor for this perennial favorite holiday concert. The performance features a family-friendly start time of 7:00pm on Saturday, December 10 at The VETS in Providence. Soloists include soprano Margot Rood, mezzo-soprano Christina English, tenor Marcio de Oliveira and bass Nicholas Laroche.

"This oratorio gave Handel international fame," said Larry Rachleff, Music Director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic, "even though the first performance was considered a failure! It wasn't until Handel conducted it himself five or six years later, as a charity benefit, that Messiah began to be believed. Its story and Handel's music combined to give the audience and the world something so unique that it has lasted even to today as one of the great works of western civilization."

Two hundred and seventy-two years after its first performance, Handel's Messiah remains the most frequently performed, most beloved work in the choral canon, featuring the "Hallelujah" chorus, "For Unto Us a Child Is Born," "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth" and other favorites. Handel completed the entire composition in only 24 days, and the oratorio has been performed consistently - revised, updated, staged, and restored to its "period" form - ever since.

Somewhere in the world on any given day, an audience is hearing Georg Frideric Handel's Messiah, perhaps the most universally loved composition for chorus and orchestra ever written. Handel had built his previous oratorios around strong characters and strong stories - Solomon, Samson, Saul, Julius Caesar. In Messiah, the chorus and soloists serve as storytellers, providing narrative and commentary that propel the drama forward. Handel wrote, "When I composed the 'Hallelujah Chorus,' I did think I did see all Heaven before me and the great God Himself."

The première - April 13, 1742, in Dublin's New Music Hall - was presented to a packed house. Gentlemen were asked not to wear swords, and women were encouraged to wear fashions without hoops, so that the hall could accommodate more people. The London première established a tradition that continues to this day, described by one observer: "When the chorus struck up 'for the Lord God Omnipotent' [in the 'Hallelujah Chorus'], they were so transported that they all together, with the King, started up and remained standing till the chorus ended."


About the guest artists

Providence Singers celebrates the choral art through concerts of masterworks and contemporary works, creative collaborations, recordings of American choral treasures, new music commissions and education programs. Collaborators include Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Kronos Quartet at the FirstWorks Festival, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the New Haven Symphony, New Bedford Symphony, Aurea Ensemble and Boston Landmarks Orchestra.

Christine Noel, Artistic Director of the Providence Singers, recently conducted the RI Philharmonic and the Singers in Mozart's Requiem, and the Singers in Vivaldi's Gloria, Mozart'sCoronation Mass and Bach's Cantata 140. She prepared the Singers for performances of Mozart's Requiem, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Holst's The Planets, Carmina burana, and Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with the RI Philharmonic. Christine is Founder and Artistic Director of the RI Children's Chorus, an award-winning choral organization for youth which serves children age 7 to 18 in six performance ensembles. She holds a Master of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from Boston University, and studied at the Università degli Studi di Firenze and the Kodály Institute of Music in Kecskemét, Hungary.

Margot Rood, soprano

Margot Rood, hailed for her "luminosity and grace" by The New York Times, performs a wide range of repertoire across American stages. Following her solo debut at Boston Symphony Hall in 2011, she has become a frequent soloist with Handel and Haydn Society. Recent and upcoming solo appearances include Stravinsky's Threni with the Cleveland Orchestra, Benjamin's Dream of the Song with the Boston Symphony, Reich's Desert Music with the New World Symphony, Messiah, Vivaldi's Gloria and the Bach Mass in B Minor with Handel and Haydn Society, Messiah, Vivaldi Gloria, Mozart Requiem with Seraphic Fire, Messiah with the Bach Collegium San Diego, Brahms' Requiem with Oratorio Chorale and the Kent Singers, Bach's St. John Passion and Mozart's C Minor Mass with the Tucson Chamber Artists, Bach's St. John Passion with Back Bay Chorale and various concerts with Blue Heron.

Christina English, mezzo-soprano

Known for her agile voice and striking presence, Christina English brings dramatic commitment and musical sensitivity to a versatile array of opera, concert and musical theater performances throughout the northeast. Her upcoming season includes performances at Boston Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Lorelei Ensemble, Cutler Majestic Theater with Beth Morrison Projects, Jordan Hall with Boston Baroque and The Lily Pad in Cambridge with Boston Art Song Society. She has appeared with Lorelei Ensemble, Boston Baroque, Handel and Haydn Society Outreach Vocal Quartet and Longfellow Chorus (E.E. Rice's Evangeline); St. Petersburg Opera, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Odyssey Opera, Guerilla Opera, Boston Midsummer Opera and Lyric Stage Company of Boston.

Marcio de Oliveira, tenor

Marcio de Oliveira recently made his international debut as the Evangelist and tenor soloist in Bach's St. John Passion with Ensemble Regale and the University of King's College Chapel Choir, broadcast on CBC Radio 2. His recital and concert work includes Britten's Five Canticles and Poulenc's Calligrammes with the Westminster Choir College, Handel's Jephtha, Purcell's The Fairy Queen, Bach's Mass in B Minor, Christmas Oratorio, Magnificat and St. Matthew and St. John Passions with Handel and Haydn Society, Haydn's Theresienmesse, the Evangelist in Bach's St. John Passion with Fuma Sacra, Handel's Dixit Dominus and Messiah, Bach's Mass in G Minor, Mozart's Requiem and Rachmaninov's Vespers. Operatic roles include Erisbe in Cavalli's Artemisia and Joadab in Charpentier's David et Jonathas with Helios Early Opera, Aladino in Scarlatti's La principessa fedele with Amherst Early Music Festival, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with CSUS Opera Theater.

Nicholas Laroche, bass

Nicholas Laroche's performance highlights include the Bach B Minor Mass, Beethoven's Mass in C, Mozart's Requiem, the roles of Raphael in Haydn's Die Shöpfung, Elijah in Mendelssohn'sElijah, Orfeo in Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, Sid in Britten's Albert Herring, Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte, Tarquinias in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia, Rambaldo in Puccini's La Rondine and The Jailor in Poulenc's Les Dialogues des Carmélites, most recently with Opera McGill. Mr. Laroche's solo performances include select works by Vaughan Williams, Finzi, Mahler, Ravel, Debussy, Schubert and Britten. Mr. Laroche is a frequent soloist and choir member with the Rhode Island based Ecclesia Consort under the direction of Pierre Masse.

All programs and artists are subject to change without notice.

Related Articles View More Classical Music Stories

More Hot Stories For You