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DVD Review

George Frideric Handel


The 250th Anniversary, 1992 Dublin Performance
of the Oratorio in Three Acts
  • Sylvia McNair, soprano
  • Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano
  • Michael Chance, alto
  • Jerry Hadley, tenor
  • Robert Lloyd, bass
Academy & Chorus of St. Martin-in-the-Fields/Neville Marriner
Philips DVD 070432-9 156m DTS NTSC/PAL Multiregion
Find it at AmazonFind it at Amazon UKFind it at Amazon GermanyFind it at Amazon CanadaFind it at Amazon FranceFind it at Amazon Japan

This glorious relay of the memorable 1992 performance of Handel's 'Messiah' at the Point Theatre in Dublin is now available in stunning DVD quality.

The sense of occasion is palpably present with the small orchestra in period dress and the small round theatre packed to the rafters. The shots concentrate chiefly on a stern looking Marriner and his players who unwind in the 'big' pieces such as the ethereal 'For unto us a child is born'.

The conductor's tempi are on the swift side but the performance gains from its unique sense of occasion. McNair is resplendently dressed in a grey gown with Anne Sofie von Otter also a peerless alto. I enjoyed Michael Chance's beautiful castrato contributions and Hadley is also a fine tenor although his English is slightly too Americanized for my taste. Robert Lloyd is a strong, imposing bass who also lends character to the performance.

Philips produces a full length essay on the work and also includes a libretto which is a rarity for DVD's. The bonus documentary, 'For ever and ever' is beautifully done with H C Robbins Landon lending his wise and irreplaceable knowledge of this timeless work. This is surely the version to have where 'Messiah' is concerned.

Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech