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Rejoice in the majesty and spirit of “Handel’s Glorious ‘Messiah,’” when Pacific Symphony presents this epic Christmas celebration featuring stunning soloists and Pacific Chorale
Orange County, Calif. — November 24, 2015
Angelic voices sing out with heavenly praise during Pacific Symphony’s performance of Handel’s Christmas masterpiece—the glorious “Messiah.” With blazing trumpets, thundering timpani and a heart-stirring “Hallelujah” chorus, Handel’s most famous oratorio offers listeners a masterful combination of theatrical effect and spiritual reflection. Set to texts selected from Holy Scripture by Charles Jennens, the piece is a three-part meditation on the life of Jesus—from his birth, to his time on Earth and death, to the resurrection. American guest conductor Robert Moody leads the Symphony along with Pacific Chorale and a group of acclaimed vocal talent that includes soprano Katherine Mueller, countertenor David Trudgen, tenor David Blalock and baritone Troy Cook. As one of the most performed compositions ever written with a wide pallet of variations, “Messiah” gives the conductor and performers freedom to make the piece their own, creating a new and refreshing experience each time it is heard.
“Handel’s Glorious Messiah” takes place on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Christmas carolers roam the lobby beginning at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25-$110. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.
“Handel’s ‘Messiah’ has become one of the truest ‘not-to-be-missed’ experiences for a great number of people each holiday season,” says Maestro Moody. “The work marries some of the greatest music ever written to the Christ story. And even though it is now most popular at Christmastime, the work carries the story of the Messiah from birth through death and resurrection to the great white throne scene signifying the end of all strife on Earth. For those who are not of the Christian faith, the work still speaks with great impact, for it is indeed some of the most powerful music ever created.”
At the first performance of “Messiah” people were so moved during the “Hallelujah” chorus that they spontaneously rose to their feet, a tradition that persists today in many parts of the world. Although it was written for and premiered during Lent and Eastertide, Handel’s masterpiece has become the quintessential classical music tradition of the Advent season, offering a message of hope and renewal that is relevant year after year.
“I realized last December that I had just led my 100th performance of ‘Messiah,” says Moody. “Clearly, I love the work and have a more intimate connection to it than just about any other work I’ve conducted. I tend to thrive on ‘epic’ works and ‘Messiah’ is the pinnacle. My extensive work in opera and my years as a kid in Sunday School created strong connections for me. ‘Messiah’ is a series of ruminations on the Messiah, as opposed to a definite story with a plot. But one still needs to feel the drama of a story, from beginning to end. I strive to capture that.”
Handel is perhaps the most cosmopolitan and versatile theatrical composer of the Baroque period. He wrote the first part of “Messiah” in six days, and completed the entire oratorio in a little over three weeks. He was born in Germany in 1685 where he became fascinated with the Italian operatic style that was taking over Hamburg. He traveled to Italy to master the art and produce many operas to great acclaim. Soon after, he settled in England, where he became the court’s go-to composer for the nation’s most important ceremonial music. His gifts for writing sacred as well as operatic music seem to unite in “Messiah,” where boundless expressive melodies and towering drama express the story and glory of Christ on Earth.
“There is little music more satisfying for me on this planet than the final ‘Amen’ of ‘Messiah,’” says Moody. “But truly, it is hard to pick a favorite musical moment. That’s like asking someone to pick a favorite child. It’s all phenomenal!”
Maestro Moody is currently the music director of three classical music institutions: the
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Winston-Salem Symphony in North Carolina, the Arizona Musicfest and the Portland Symphony Orchestra in Maine. His 2015-16 season includes debuts with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and Columbus Symphony, as well as return engagements with the Memphis Symphony and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. He has accompanied many of the world’s greatest performing artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Renée Fleming, Denyce Graves, André Watts, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Midori. Equally at home in the opera pit, Moody began his career as apprentice conductor for the Landestheater Opera in Linz, Austria. He has gone on to conduct at the opera companies of North Carolina, Santa Fe, Rochester, Hilton Head and the Brevard Music Center, as well as the Washington National Opera.
Soprano Kathryn Mueller has been described as a singer “who thoroughly captures the imagination” by the Albuquerque Journal and also been praised by San Francisco Classical Voice for her “lovely tone and easy agility.” In addition to her solo concert engagements with symphony orchestras across the U.S., Mueller has recorded two Grammy-nominated albums with Seraphic Fire. In 2011, Mueller was one of four fellows in the prestigious Adams Vocal Master Class at the Carmel Bach Festival. She was a finalist in the 2012 and 2013 Oratorio Society of New York’s Solo Competition, winning the Frances MacEachron Award in 2013.
The Chicago Tribune declared Canadian countertenor David Trudgen to be “the next generation’s answer to David Daniels” for his appearance as Medoro in Chicago Opera Theater’s production of Handel’s “Orlando” under the direction of Raymond Leppard. Continuing in Handel mode, Trudgen shared the title role with Daniels in Michigan Opera Theatre’s production of “Julius Caesar.” Trudgen received the Earl V. Moore Award and has performed for Martina Arroyo, Colin Graham, Shirley Verrett and Alan Curtis. Trudgen is a Michigan District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions winner and was a participant in the Kennedy Center Conservatory Project.
Tenor David Blalock is becoming well-known for his dark-hued lyric tenor and his captivating stage presence. His young career already includes singing leading roles with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, North Carolina Opera, Virginia Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Madison Opera and Opera Saratoga. He has also sung roles with Central City Opera and Santa Fe Opera as a member of their young artist programs. As a Virginia Opera Emerging Artist in the 2013-14 season, Blalock was heard as First Priest in “The Magic Flute,” Brighella in “Ariadne auf Naxos” and Le Remendado in “Carmen.”
The New Criterion praised baritone Troy Cook for his “beautiful, robust, woolen baritone” during his engagement with Opera Philadelphia. He recently performed his first Ford in Hamburgische Staatsoper’s “Falstaff,” following his debut with the company as Marcello in “La Bohème.” He also debuted with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden as Guglielmo in “Così fan tutte.”
This concert is generously sponsored by Farmers & Merchants Bank.
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