The Story Behind Messiah

Portrait of George Frederick Handel by William Hoare
Portrait of George Frederick Handel by William Hoare

No matter how familiar Handel’s Messiah might be, this 273 year old oratorio which debuted in Dublin in 1742 remains loved by both musicians and audiences.

Its premiere received rave reviews, with The Dublin Journal reporting..…’the best Judges allowed [Messiah] to be the most finished piece of Musick. Words are wanting to express the exquisite Delight it afforded to the admiring crouded Audience. The Sublime, the grand, and the Tender, adapted to the most elevated and moving Words, conspired to transport and charm the ravished Heart and Ear’.

As the weekend’s performances of Messiah kick off at the Sydney Opera House, performed by the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, this feature from Gramophone magazine tells the story behind this iconic work.



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