Thursday, February 9, 2023
February 9, 2023

Handel’s Messiah on tap at Fulford Hall

A Salt Spring holiday season tradition continues with the 11th Annual Bach on the Rock Messiah Sing Along set for this Sunday afternoon at Fulford Hall.

The island’s chamber orchestra and choir held its first Handel’s Messiah event in 2011 under then music director Jim Stubbs. It was quickly adopted by the community as part of beloved holiday festivities, and has continued each year except for 2020.

The Messiah will be directed by Bach on the Rock’s new artistic director Jean-Sébastien Lévesque, whose first concert in his position — Mozart and Cherubini Requiems on Nov. 19 at Fulford Hall — garnered a standing ovation and many enthusiastic comments.

The Dec. 18 Messiah, which begins at 2 p.m., gives attendees the opportunity to sing along with some of the piece’s choruses, but there is no expectation to do so. A shortened version of the original work will also be performed.

The concert features four exciting young vocal soloists either based from or with roots in Victoria: Celeste Lingas, soprano; Cassidy Stahr, mezzo-soprano; Adam Schmidt, tenor; Kyron Basu, baritone, each of them passionate about their musical activities.

Lingas spent many years performing in the Oxford Girls’ Choir, with director Richard Vendome. There she sang as both a chorister and soloist in productions of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Handel’s Semele, and a variety of classical and contemporary choral works.

Stahr is in the touring Vancouver Island Chamber Choir and was a choral scholar at Christ Church Cathedral for five years. This past summer, she performed in Menotti’s The Consul (Secretary) and the musical Tuck Everlasting (Mae) with Opera NUOVA in Edmonton. In the chorus at Pacific Opera Victoria, she appeared in Don Giovanni and Carmen, and looks forward to The Birds in February. Studying with John MacMaster at McGill University, tenor Schmidt’s most recent activities have included singing Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Peter Quint in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, Emilio in Handel’s Partenope, and he helped create the role of Claudio in James Garner’s new opera Much Ado, all in association with Opera McGill.

Basu has appeared with groups such as Fretwork, the Victoria Baroque Players, Victoria Philharmonic Choir and Victoria Children’s Choir. Recent engagements include the role of Christus in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Victoria Philharmonic Choir and Schubert’s Mass in G with the Linden Singers. Basu is also a passionate teacher and a member of the voice faculties of the University of Victoria and the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

Some members of the Viva Chorale and Salt Spring Singers choirs will also join the Bach on the Rock choir.

Tickets are available through bachontherock.com or at the door.

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