Review by Meriel Dickinson GRSM, ARMCH
of Handel’s Messiah (December 5th 2004)
Wantage Choral Society and the Isis Orchestra under their Guest Conductor Ted Smith gave a spirited performance of Handel’s Messiah in the Parish Church on Sunday December 5th. It was a pleasure to hear this long-established choir singing with splendid energy, which seemed to increase as the evening progressed.
The four brilliant young soloists, all recent students at the National Opera Studio, used their beautiful voices to great musical and dramatic effect. We shall be hearing a great deal more of Lorina Gore, Antonia Sotgiu, Nicholas Sharratt and Paul Carey Jones in the near future.
It was good to hear some of the less-familiar arias and choruses, even though there was some uncertainty in the choir at one or two particularly tricky moments. It also made for a very long evening – but the music eventually triumphed over the hardness of the pews.
There were many magical moments to savour, especially when choir, orchestra and soloists produced soft singing and playing of high quality, as well as moments of great power.
Ted Smith is an experienced and sympathetic musician and conductor who brought out the very best in his performers. He also provided excellent programme notes. The packed audience in the church fully appreciated such a high level of artistry with prolonged applause and we went out into the night in just the right mood for the beginning of Christmas.