Georg Friedrich Handel's magnificent oratorio, "Messiah," will be presented twice on Sunday at Sierra Presbyterian Church in Nevada City. Many consider this work the crowning glory of the holiday season. Sierra Presbyterian's Music Minister, Jonathan Steel, will conduct an 80 voice community choir and a 16-piece community orchestra.
Concerts begin at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. with doors opening 30 minutes before each performance.
In addition to several local soloists, there will be a guest soloist this year. Ronn Ealy, from San Jose, will sing two of the bass solos in "Messiah." Ronn has performed the lead in "Phantom of the Opera" in various cities in Europe. He was part of a team that visited Sierra Presbyterian Church last spring, leading in worship and song.
Although it is most often performed at Christmas time, "Messiah" was not intended to be a Christmas work. It was first performed in April 1742, in Dublin, Ireland, as a benefit for the Society of Relieving Prisoners, the Charitable Infirmary, and Mercer's Hospital. The story of the oratorio goes far beyond the prophecy and narration of Jesus' birth. It encompasses the Messiah's life and purpose and the significance for us. To this end, Steel will conduct excerpts from all three parts of "Messiah," which presents more of the complete story.
The texts were selected entirely from the Bible by Handel's friend Charles Jennens. He and Handel obviously had a thorough knowledge of the scriptures. The combination of the Biblical passages tell the story with both breadth and depth. Handel's musical treatment of the texts is sensitive and inspired (he wrote it in 23 days), although Jennens didn't always think so. Though good friends, the two didn't always see eye to eye on Handel's settings of the words.
This will be the twelfth presentation of Handel's masterpiece at Sierra Presbyterian since 1989. Currently it is performed every other year.
Tickets are $10 and are on sale at Record Connection and Electronics in the Brunswick Basin, Wayside Christian Book Store in the Raley's Center, and at Sierra Presbyterian Church, 175 Ridge Road in Nevada City.
For information, call Sierra Presbyterian Church at (530) 265-3291.