Review – November 2012 Concert: Handel Messiah

When the work you are performing is as well-known as Handel’s Messiah it is imperative to communicate the familiar message of Christ’s birth through to the hope of eternal life as though telling it for the first time.

This involves singing with confidence and looking the audience, as it were, in the eye.  The Cantata Choir, conducted by Rachel Tweddle and ably accompanied by strings, mainly from the IW Symphony Orchestra, did just this to a full house, with clarity and conciseness.

The forceful soloists, Elizabeth Donovan, Fiona Kimm, Michael Bracegirdle and Adrian Powter, helped deliver the message. Elizabeth Donovan’s Yet in my flesh shall I see God was beautifully portrayed.

Fiona Kimm was equally arresting; one of the evening’s highlights, helped by perfect ensemble playing, was her silence before the repeat of the section He was despised.  It was spine-chilling.

Rachel Tweddle and the choir share a great empathy. She knows the work intimately and managed to convey her wishes to the ranks.

Occasionally the conducting was a little measured: the sheep didn’t so much stray as get into an orderly line and trot into the fold. However, most of the choruses such as Behold the lamb of God, Surely and particularly Worthy is the Lamb contained well- rounded dynamics and singing of a very high standard.  When the choir lifted up their heads as they did in Wonderful, Counsellor they were magnificent.

By Jane Pelham, IW County Press. 30 November 2012.