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Handel for the season: Madras Musical Association’s upcoming concert

One hundred voices and a string orchestra feature in Madras Musical Association’s concert this Sunday

It has been over a decade since the city-based Madras Musical Association (MMA) choir performed Handel’s iconic Hallelujah. “The earlier one was back in 2008, but that was just about 50 voices, along with the Madras Chamber Orchestra,” says Augustine Paul, music director of the MMA.

This time around, a 100-voice choir will take the stage at Museum Theatre tomorrow evening for a two-hour-long version of the oratorio.

Time check

Although the original stretches to about three hours (the choir has managed to keep it shorter, by dropping a few choruses and solos), Paul says it will depend on how quick they can be during position changes.

“Fitting these many singers, plus the orchestra, on the relatively smaller stage was quite a challenge, but we have managed it. We hope the acoustics in the venue will be as good as it has always been,” he adds.

Thirty six pieces will be sung, sharing the story of Christ in three sections, covering his birth, life, death, resurrection and the second coming. “It is especially popular during the season of Lent, just before Easter, more than it is during Christmas. For those not familiar with the story, we will be giving a handout to bring them up to speed,” he says.

Considering the complexity of the subject, it is surprising to learn that they have managed to be show-ready in less than 12 weeks. It’s not just because they are veterans though — “A fair number will be singing Hallelujah for the very first time,” he informs us.

The numerous solos will be taken by Allan Samuel, Vijay Chacko, Ebenezer Arunkumar, Tabitha Martyn, Manisha Shankar, and several others. “The young concertmaster, Earl Joseph, will conduct the 25-piece string orchestra, which is perfect for how Handel wrote it. We’ve also added a trumpet to the mix,” concludes Paul.

MMA presents Handel’s Messiah tomorrow, from 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm, at Museum Theatre, Egmore. Donor passes of ₹300, ₹500 and ₹1,000 are available at Pro Musicals, PMA School of Music, Musee Musical, and at 9840485558

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 11:22:06 AM |

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