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Sunday Arts Magazine

28 Nov 2022

Sir Andrew Davis – MSO

Arts, Performing Arts, Sunday Arts Magazine

Sir Andrew Davis – MSO

A festive favourite that premiered 280 years ago, Handel’s Messiah remains one of the Baroque
composer’s most enduring works featuring the exultant and inspirational Hallelujah chorus.
This December, the MSO and MSO Chorus will perform Handel’s original work in Frankston and
Ballarat, and the acclaimed reorchestration by Sir Andrew Davis in two exclusive concerts at
Hamer Hall.
Well known to MSO audiences, Sir Andrew Davis is an internationally acclaimed composer and
former Chief Conductor of the MSO from 2013-2019. In a career spanning more than 40 years he
has conducted virtually all the world’s major orchestras and opera companies, led performances at
many of the world’s most important opera houses and at the major festivals.
He returns to Hamer Hall as the MSO’s Conductor Laureate to lead his orchestration of Messiah
for only its second performance in Australia.
Sir Andrew has a long and distinguished connection with the work having sung Handel’s Messiah
as a boy soprano. His reorchestration was a labour of love, in which he aimed to “clothe the work
with all the colours available from a modern orchestra.” As a result, Sir Andrew’s Messiah makes
use of larger on-stage forces and incorporates such instruments as alto flute, oboe d’amore, harp
and marimba.
A few years after its premiere in 1742, Messiah became an Easter time fixture, performed to raise
funds for the Foundling Hospital in London. The oratorio has never fallen out of favour and is now
more commonly performed around Christmas.
Rather than follow a specific biblical narrative, the text of Messiah is taken from various passages
in the Old and New Testament. The vibrant arias and recitatives bring colour and urgency to the
subject matter, with Handel utilising visceral word-painting throughout.
Under the baton of MSO Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis, the Hamer Hall concerts will
feature the extraordinary vocal talents of soprano Jacqueline Porter, mezzo-soprano Catherine
Carby, tenor Andrew Goodwin, and bass-baritone Christopher Richardson with the full voice of
the MSO Chorus under Director Warren Trevelyan-Jones.
Following the Hamer Hall concerts, the MSO and Principal Conductor in Residence Benjamin
Northey will lead the Orchestra in his hometown of Ballarat, before a sold-out performance in
Frankston for two stirring performances of Handel’s Messiah featuring the mighty MSO Chorus.
The choral line up will also feature soprano Kathryn Radcliffe, mezzo-soprano Dimity Shepherd,
tenor Louis Hurley and bass Christopher Tonkin.
Sir Andrew’s Messiah
Saturday 10 Dec, 7:00pm and Sunday 11 Dec, 5:00 pm, Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
Handel’s Messiah Ballarat
Wednesday 14 December, 7:00pm, Ballarat Civic Hall

The Messiah DraftV3.docx

Handel’s Messiah Frankston
Thursday 15 December, 7:00pm, Frankston Arts Centre

Sir Andrew Davis
One of today’s most recognised and acclaimed conductors, Sir Andrew Davis’ career spans over
forty-five years in which he has been the artistic leader at several of the world’s most distinguished
opera and symphonic institutions, including Lyric Opera of Chicago (Music Director and Principal
Conductor, 2000-2021), the BBC Symphony Orchestra (Conductor Laureate and Chief Conductor
from 1991-2004), Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Music Director 1988-2000), Melbourne Symphony
Orchestra (Conductor Laureate and Chief Conductor from 2013-2019), and the Toronto Symphony
Orchestra (Conductor Laureate and Principal Conductor from 1975-1988), where he also served
as Interim Artistic Director through 2020. In addition, he holds the honorary title of Conductor
Emeritus from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
Sir Andrew has led performances at many of the world’s most important opera houses, among
them the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, Bayreuth
Festival, and the major companies of Munich, Paris, San Francisco, and Santa Fe. In addition to
those ensembles, he has appeared with virtually every other internationally prominent orchestra,
including the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and
all the major British orchestras.
In a career spanning more than 40 years he has conducted virtually all the world’s major
orchestras and opera companies, and at the major festivals. Recent highlights have included Die
Walküre in a new production at Chicago Lyric. Sir Andrew’s many CDs include Messiah,
nominated for a 2018 Grammy, Bliss’s The Beatitudes, and a recording with the Bergen
Philharmonic of Vaughan Williams’ Job/ Symphony No.9 nominated for a 2018 BBC Music
Magazine Award. With the MSO he has released a third recording in the ongoing Richard Strauss
series, featuring the Alpine Symphony and Till Eulenspiegel.

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