City Arts: Excellent chorus work enhances fresh Messiah production

Stephen Stubbs conducts the UW Chambers singers
Stephen Stubbs conducts the UW Chambers singers in Handel's Messiah (Photo: Courtesy City Arts online).

Last week, in the hands of conductor and artistic director Stephen Stubbs, Pacific MusicWorks performed Handel‘s Messiah as close to the way Handel and his forces originally performed it over 270 years ago as modern scholarship could achieve.

Composed over just 24 days, the Messiah was first performed in 1742 at the Music Hall in Fishamble Street, Dublin, and 700 people crammed themselves into the modest venue to hear it. Last week, twice in area churches and Saturday and Sunday in Meany Theater, Stubbs presided over 19 instrumentalists and 45 members of The University of Washington Chamber Singers (trained by Geoffrey Boers) plus four soloists, who sat beside the chorus and often sang with them. In Handel’s day, soloists were frequently the lead members of each choir section, but for a couple of hundred years now, soloists for Messiah have been brought in and seated separately.  

Read the full review by Pippa Kiraly in City Arts Online.