Hallelujah! Messiah concert thrills a packed Worcester Cathedral

11th of December, 2022

Almost 600 music lovers packed a candlelit Worcester Cathedral on Saturday 10th December to hear one of the best-loved of all choral works, Handel’s glittering oratorio Messiah, sung by 140 voices and renowned soloists.

The concert was staged by the region’s leading large classical choir, Worcester Festival Choral Society, under the baton of Worcester Cathedral’s director of music, Samuel Hudson.

Also appearing were acclaimed soloists Sarah Denbee (mezzo-soprano), Tom Robson (tenor) and Edward Grint (bass-baritone). Soprano Natalie Montakhab also gave a tour de force performance at only one day's notice, when the billed soprano Philippa Hyde was forced to cancel due to illness. Accompanying the concert was the Meridian Sinfonia, playing Baroque-pitch instruments.

Written 280 years ago, Handel’s Messiah remains one of the world’s most popular choral works. When King George II attended its premiere in 1742, he is said to have been so moved by the Hallelujah chorus that he rose to his feet – a tradition that audiences continue today. The oratorio is also packed with other well-known arias and choruses such as For unto us a child is born, And He shall purify and The trumpets shall sound.  

Ben Cooper, chairman of Worcester Festival Choral Society, said: “Handel’s Messiah is always a thrill to hear and to sing. It really is the perfect way to herald the Christmas season. It was fantastic to see such a packed Cathedral!”

Established in 1861 and closely associated with Sir Edward Elgar in its early years, Worcester Festival Choral Society draws its auditioned singers from across the region. The Society stages three major concerts in Worcester Cathedral each year, bringing some of the world’s ‘great choral works’ to the City. A ‘Come & Sing’ one-day choral workshop, open to all singers, is also held each spring.

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