Messiah roundup 2020

As advent calendars continue the countdown to a bittersweet 2020 holiday season, opera companies keep inline with tradition–or should we say online–via streamable versions of the Handel classic. 

Keep reading for a complete list of Messiah shows to curl up to with a cup of hot cocoa. Add some whip cream this time–after all, you don’t have to worry about being messy at the opera house!

*Items marked with a star are free events.

1. Dec. 8th-22nd–Orchestre classique de Montréal

In this watch-on-demand version, the orchestra is joined by the professional chamber choir, les Rugissants, alongside soprano Elizabeth Polese, mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb, tenor Marcel d’Entremont and baritone Hugo Laporte. Boris Brott and Xavier Brossard-Ménard conduct in the Basilica of Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Quebec, proclaiming the start of the holiday season.

2. Dec. 11th–Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra 

David Pomeroy, tenor
David Pomeroy singing with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marc David, February 2020. Photo: Greg Locke

Streamed from the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Newfoundland, this Messiah–a show that’s been an NSO Christmas tradition since 1987–features a choir of local singers and soloists including soprano Maria Lacey, contralto Abra Whitney, tenor David Pomeroy and baritone Branden Olsen under direction of conductor Kathleen Allan. 

3. Dec. 13th–Against the Grain Theatre/Toronto Symphony Orchestra/Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity*

Messiah by AtG
L-r: Jully Black, Jonathon Adams, Rihab Chaied, Elliot Madore and Miriam Khalil. Photo: Eamon Mac Mahon

The award-winning team at AtG releases a film interpretation of Messiah featuring a diverse cast of performers from every province and territory in Canada singing a multilingual choral translation in Inuktitut, Dene, French, Arabic, Southern Tutchone and more. They will be accompanied by the TSO and conducted by Johannes Debus in partnership with the Banff Centre.

4. Dec. 12th–Elora Festival(Pay What You Can)

In Elora Festival’s Village Messiah – A Nativity Festival Concert Handel’s masterpiece will be performed by soloists from the ranks of the Elora Singers with Festival Orchestra. The company is offering the option to pay what you are able depending on your current circumstances.

5. Dec. 15th–Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

OSM shakes things up this season with excerpts from two Baroque masters (Vivaldi’s Gloria and Handel’s Messiah), performed by soprano Anna-Sophie Neher, soprano Stéphanie Manias and mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne plus the OSM Chorus led by Quebec conductor Bernard Labadie. 

6. Dec. 17th–Soundstreams Electric Messiah*

Soundstreams presents a full-length Electric Messiah music video, complete with a mix of outdoor filming in public spaces of Toronto, studio recordings, and a new cinematic approach. Audiences can expect a feast of musical styles from jazz to soul/hip-hop from soprano Lindsay McIntyre, treble Teiya Kasahara, tenor Jonathan MacArthur and bass Andrew Adridge. 

We want to know how you decide to celebrate the #HandelHolidays on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook–don’t forget to tag @OperaCanada.