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Fort Macleod church to host broadcast of Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing Handel’s Messiah

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Reprising the enormous success of their 2014 concert, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square will once again join forces to present Handel’s beloved oratorio Messiah in its entirety this Easter.
The concerts will be held on Thursday, March 24, and Good Friday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Tabernacle.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fort Macleod is opening its doors to the public at 7:30 p.m. on Good Friday to listen to the performance, which will be broadcast on a large screen.
“We have heard from people in several countries who are organizing events,” choir president Ron Jarrett said. “This is a wonderful way to celebrate the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ with all Christians of the world.”
The concert will be conducted by Mack Wilberg, music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, who has prepared a completely new edition of Messiah for the Choir and Orchestra.
Wilberg said as he worked on the score, in the back of his mind was the question, “What would Handel have done if he had ensembles as large as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square?”
This required Wilberg to examine every note of the vocal and instrumental parts and make decisions as to what would accommodate a 360-voice choir and large orchestra and still reflect present-day knowledge of Baroque performance practices.
The result is an edition of Messiah that honours the extraordinary history of this brilliant masterpiece as only the choir and the orchestra can.
In 1741, swimming in debt and out of favour as a composer, George Frideric Handel accepted a commission for a benefit concert in Dublin, Ireland.
On Aug. 22 the 56-year-old sequestered himself in his London home and began to compose music to biblical texts heralding the life of Jesus Christ.
In just 23 days Handel completed a 260-page oratorio he named Messiah. This magnum opus has inspired listeners, crossing generational and cultural boundaries from Handel’s time to our own.
The choir and orchestra will be joined by four New York Metropolitan Opera soloists with extensive musical backgrounds.
Performing the soprano solo will be Erin Morley, an acclaimed artist who has sung at opera houses around the world and with leading orchestras in the United States.
Sasha Cooke, a performer described by the New York Times as “a luminous standout,” will sing the mezzo-soprano role. In addition to her Met performances, she has appeared at opera houses from Vienna to Singapore and regularly performs with the world’s major symphonies.
Paul Appleby, tenor soloist, will appear this year for return engagements at the New York Metropolitan Opera and have his San Francisco Opera debut.
With a voice described as “vocally robust,” Joseph Barron, a bass-baritone, has appeared in multiple seasons at the Met, the Pittsburgh Opera and the Opera of Philadelphia.
Barron will also appear with the choir and orchestra on the Sunday, March 27, Music and the Spoken Word broadcast.
The concert will be available from the choir’s Web site for 10 days to accommodate times zones and schedules.

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