Review: Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s class of Handel’s Messiah

(By: Hilary Punchard)

Nothing is better then being serenaded by a string orchestra and angelic voices for an evening. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Messiah brings a special element to Toronto’s holiday art scene in December.

Handel’s Messiah is a winter classic, symbolizing the start of the holidays. The symphony is an English oratorio with scriptural text for lyrics. Handel composed it in 1741 and it is played in cities all around the world during the winter season.

The TSO handled the piece nicely, not taking away from the beauty of the composition. With modern day renditions of the Messiah, many attempt to adapt the symphony by adding flashy visuals and shifts in the musical production. However, the TSO has remained faithful to the core beauty of Handel’s work and captured the traditional elegance of this symphony.

The orchestra, choir and conductor worked flawlessly together, their transitions being executed to a degree that would make Handel himself proud.

The grandeur of this symphony comes from the simplicity of the settings and the strength of the music. The Messiah is not only a biblical piece that several people have cherished for generations, but its music is a classic and a must see for everyone at least once in their life.

With the stage having a basic set up of a symphony, you do not have distractions in this event, leaving the viewer to close their eyes and enjoy the music itself.

Torontonians have several winter traditions that symbolize the start of the new season. The lighting of the Toronto City Hall Christmas tree, the Eaton Centre’s decorations, the Hudson’s Bay window displays; the TSO’s Messiah definitely deserves a spot on every Torontonian’s winter schedule.


Conductor Nicholas McGegan during Handel’s Messiah (Credits: The Toronto Symphony Orchestra)


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