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Handel’s Messiah

Messiah Wakefield Cathedral Sunday, November 28

FAMILIARITY has yet to breed even the slightest twinge of contempt within me for Handel’s classic (yes, I know some will substitute the word cliched) oratorio.

However, even if I was beginning to tire of the familiar choruses, or to cease feeling the sense of occasion which goes with a massed choral performance of Messiah, this would still have been a revelatory evening. Not so much for another exposition of the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir’s tremendous abilities – that much is also taken for granted – but for four superb performances by the young soloists.

The choir has implemented a policy of engaging up-and-coming young singers, be they students or newly-fledged professionals, in order to help their career development. And if the quality of Lucia Walsh- Hughes (soprano) Angharad Lyddon (contralto), Peter Wilman (tenor) and Alistair Ollerenshaw (baritone) is any indication, then the choir – and its audiences – are on to a winner. For as well as superb vocal quality, each of the four displayed a maturity of performance belying their tender years, a verdict which was shared by audience members whose knowledge and experience of such matters is much greater than mine.

It had been 13 years since the Phil last sung Messiah in the cathedral. Regardless of the length of wait for the next one, this performance will stay in the memory for a long time to come.


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