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MESSIAH Triumphant – Audiences Give Unanimous Thumbs Up

Handel’s timeless oratorio, Messiah, is unquestionably the best-known and most universally loved sacred choral work in the Western world. Since its premiere presentation in Dublin nearly three hundred years ago, it has never fallen out of favour, or into obscurity. To this day, the world over, wherever there is a celebration of Christmas, a performance of Messiah will be close at hand.

And in 2023, the Sunshine Coast and the City of Brisbane are no exceptions. On Saturday and Sunday, November 25th and 26th, the Sunshine Coast’s acclaimed and award-winning Oriana Choir presented two stunning performances of Handel’s masterpiece, at the Buderim Goodlife Centre and Brisbane City Hall respectively. With a total of seventy-one voices, exquisite performances by soloists Elisabeth Wallis Gaedtke (soprano); Anne Fulton (mezzo); Tobias Merz (tenor); and Jason Barry-Smith (bass); with accompaniment by the superb Sinfonia of St. Andrew’s, and conducted by highly accomplished Music Director Andrew Wailes, this marvellous presentation was enjoyed by a combined total of more than 1100 music lovers over both performances.

Audience response was nothing short of ecstatic. From the opening notes of the Overture, to the final, spectacular conclusion to the Amen, the entire ensemble gave a nigh faultless rendering of the work, leading to standing ovations. At both venues, the audiences were treated to an encore of the “Hallelujah” chorus, which they received with all the enthusiasm of a rock-concert audience.

Feedback following the concerts included such comments as “the best Messiah I have ever seen”; “the choir were utterly professional in their demeanour, stage-craft, and disciplined, exquisite singing”; “I had no idea we had a choir of such quality in our own community”.

Oriana Choir extends its deep gratitude to all who supported them by attending this, the Choir’s fourth staging of Messiah. The audiences’ enthusiastic reception is greatly appreciated.

But the Choir is not letting the grass grow under its feet. Between now and Christmas Eve, the Oriana Ensemble will be performing a series of Christmas Carol presentations, including the Noosa River Christmas Carols Cruise on December 9th, Carols at Aussie World on December 16th, and Sofitel Resort, Noosa, December 18th to 24th. And early in the New Year, the Choir will commence rehearsals for Dancing Queen, Oriana’s tribute to the music of Abba and Queen, to be staged in May 2024.

Ian Rix


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