Preview: “Messiah” by the Consort of Twelve and the Portsmouth Baroque Choir

Chichester’s baroque ensemble the Consort of Twelve are delighted to collaborate once again with the Portsmouth Baroque Choir for this year’s Festival of Chichester.

On 9 July, at 5pm, in St Paul’s Church, Chichester, they will perform Messiah, Handel’s enduring masterpiece, and probably the most famous choral work ever.

Messiah’s debut performance was in Dublin, and in order to accommodate as large an audience as possible ladies were requested not to wear hoops in their skirts, and gentlemen to remove their swords. However, for this Festival concert (280 years after the work’s subsequent first London performance), the audience is simply invited to bring a picnic for a “Glyndebourne-style” long dinner interval.

The concert is conducted by the Portsmouth Baroque Choir’s director, Malcolm Keeler, with the vocal soloists Harriet Burns (soprano), Charlotte Badham (mezzo), “local boy” Tom Robson (tenor) and Jamie Woollard (bass). 

Like other musical groups the Consort were extremely disappointed to have to cancel concerts during the Pandemic. But the excellent musicians of the Consort and their wonderfully supportive audiences have remained loyal. Although, at first, playing in public again seemed very strange, last year the Consort celebrated 40 years of giving concerts in the Festival of Chichester. It’s marvellous to be back and there’s a new and exciting atmosphere within the ensemble. 

Lynden Cranham

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