Though George Frideric Handel wrote his most famous oratorio in 1741 with the intent that it be performed with “modest” instrumentation, including a harpsichord, and only a few dozen voices, Messiah’s subsequent growth in both popularity and orchestral/choral scale is a juggernaut scarcely to be resisted. This season’s performance by the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and guest vocalists from Vassar’s Cappella Festiva is not quite a mega-production, but the grand total of 100 instrumentalists and singers scheduled to be onstage at the Bardavon Opera House should be more than adequate to gloss over any offkey utterances by the non-operatically-trained general public, who are invited to come and sing along.
The featured soloists for Messiah at the Bardavon include soprano Rachel Rosales, mezzo-soprano Sara Murphy, tenor Jonathan Blalock and baritone Thomas Meglioranza. Canadian conductor and soprano Christine R. Howlett, who is also director of Choral Activities at Vassar College, will serve as guest conductor of this performance, which gets underway at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 15. A pre-concert talk with Maestro Howlett and members of the orchestra will take place one hour before the concert for all ticketholders. Ticket prices are $20, $26, $36 and $51, depending on location. To order, visit the Bardavon box office at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie, (845) 473-2072, or the Ulster Performing Arts Center box office at 601 Broadway in Kingston, (845) 339-6088; or contact Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com.
Saturday, Dec. 15, 2 p.m.
Bardavon Opera House
35 Market Street, Poughkeepsie
(845) 473-2072, www.bardavon.org