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A Saturday evening at The Music Center at Strathmore and on the program one of the best known choral works ever to be sung. It is George Frideric’s Handel’s Messiah a classic oratorio that everyone has at least heard in partial whether it be on television a movie or sung in church.

At first you might confuse Handel’s Messiah with opera. The differences although slight are significant. Not in structure, oratorios are comprised of all the same musical elements as an opera a choir, an ensemble, soloist with various arias. The main difference is that opera is musical theater and oratorios are concert pieces. Still you could close your eyes and the differences would be indistinguishable if it weren’t for the scriptural context. With that being said I couldn’t find a more appropriate ensemble than the National Philharmonic to perform the concert, and the venue The Music Center at Strathmore although not a church or cathedral was still very much adequate.

The soloist in which who performed Danielle Talamantes soprano, Magdalena Wor mezzo soprano, Matthew Loyal Smith tenor, and Kevin Deas bass. Matthew Loyal Smith the tenor which performed the opening recitative “Comfort Ye My People” had perfect pitch and was performed exactly as should be; that recitative in particular was particularly opulent. Kevin Deas performed his bass recitatives masterfully. His voice was rich, it carried well throughout the music hall. His rendition of “Why Do the Nations so Furiously Rage Together” is to behold; it was magnificently powerful. Danielle Talamantes performed a standout air soprano “Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion”. Her voice carried and seemed to fill every corner of space with bliss. Magdalena Wor was another soloist and she was as equally impressive. As she performed “He was despised” you could feel the pain, the hurt, the rejection. She is very expressive as she sings; it was truly an emotional experience.

Just as expressed earlier was the brilliance of The National Philharmonic Chorale. They were harmonious and grand. While performing “Hallelujah” they stole the show. Every person in attendance at the music hall stood up throughout the duration of the entire song. Everyone familiar with this song was inclined to sing along. The concert was a joy and particularly refreshing around the holidays. A grand event the entire family would enjoy. If you didn’t have the opportunity to see this concert you are in luck because they will be performing it again December 22nd and 23rd at The Music Center at Strathmore. I would highly recommend it and don’t forget that making this a memorable holiday event for the entire family is easy because kids tickets for The National Philharmonic are always free. This is a great event to attend and you should too.

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