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10 Dec 2020

Everything You Need to Know About the “Messiah Sing-in”

What could possibly be better than listening to the Utah Symphony? Singing with us of course! While the orchestra plays, you can sing-along to the inspired score by George Frideric Handel from the comfort of your own home.

For some people, this performance—with its majestic and spiritual choruses—this is a long-standing tradition. If it’s your first time listening to this piece, here is everything you need to know:

What is Handel’s Messiah?

It is an English-language oratorio which was composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel with the Libretto based on scriptural text by Charles Jennens. The text is largely based on the King James Bible’s accounts of the life of Jesus Christ. (It also includes sections of the Book of Common Prayer.)

The music is stirring and filled with rapturous choruses—including the famous Hallelujah Chorus. Want to know more? Just take a look at this video from our performance of the Messiah from a few years ago:

Why is this piece so notable?

Like many notable works, Handel’s Messiah caused quite a stir. Many people initially considered it blasphemous. Despite some people’s original sentiments, this work has become an incredibly popular and beloved tradition for the Christmas season (although it was originally composed for the Easter season).

One could point to many reasons as to why it’s so iconic. Its choruses are vibrant and the subject matter is moving. But perhaps one of the most notable things is that Handel composed it in record time. He finished the 260-page score in just 24 days—with relatively few revisions too.

Whatever the reasons for its popularity, the Messiah is here to stay!

What should I expect when I tune into the concert?

Unless you have the libretto (the words to an opera or oratorio) to the Messiah memorized, we recommend having one with you when you watch. Both the G. Schirmer and Baerenreiter scores are available for purchase through Riverton Music.

Whether you’re a classically trained soprano or you’re completely tone-deaf baritone, this program is built for everyone. So belt it out at the top of your lungs and enjoy the show!

Get your tickets for Handel’s Virtual Messiah here.