Handel’s MESSIAH

After 2 years in hibernation due to the Covid pandemic, on 20th November 2021, La Folia took part in our very first baroque outing, providing the orchestra for a performance of Handel’s MESSIAH on period instruments, in Priory School Chapel in Lewes, East Sussex.  With Howard Moody playing organ continuo, we performed alongside the Esterhazy Chamber Choir, conducted by Richard Dawson, and soloists Alexandra Kidgell, Rebecca Leggett, Ruairi Bowen and Malachy Frame.

It was a completely joyous performance for which the audience not only stood as is the custom during the Hallelujah chorus, but also gave us a standing ovation at the end.  Below are just some of the wonderful comments that were received from both musicians, soloists and audience:

“What an amazing evening!  Will live long in the memory! I still can’t get the smile off my face from last night!” (Richard Dawson, conductor)

“Honestly one of the warmest most wholesome concerts I can remember – just so much joy and fun in the room.  Could tell the audience had been starved of Messiah!” (Ruairi Bowen, tenor soloist)

“It was one of the best Messiah’s I’ve ever been involved with!” (Rebecca Leggett, alto soloist)

“I couldn’t believe what an amazing sound those instrumentalists made! And the choir sounded fab too!” (Audience member)

“It was an absolute joy to play in last night’s concert – and a privilege to lead Folia’s first baroque outing. I was so pleased with the way that the violin section worked together – a great little group and a nice mix of experience and youth.” (Alison Bury, leader)

I really felt the piece ‘ took off’ in the most exciting way and am still on a high from it… The orchestra felt so homogenised from the first note” (Julia Bishop, violin)

“I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed Saturday’s concert.  It was a truly special occasion and one I will remember for a long time.  Especially after the couple of years we have all had, it really meant a lot to be there with you all.” (Alexandra Kidgell, soprano soloist)

“I just wanted to say thank you for your very kind words. It was such a pleasure to play and be spurred on by the choir and orchestra and soloists fizzing along joyously! That’s how concerts should be!” (Neil Brough, trumpet)

Images from the rehearsal (photography John Astbury)

Esterhazy Chamber Choir and La Folia

Alison Bury_Dominika Fehér_Pablo Guttiérez

Howard Moody with Rebecca Leggett

Howard Moody, Catherine Rimer, Pablo Gutiérrez, Dominika Fehér, Alison Bury

Rebecca Bell and Alison Bury

Jan Zahourek and Alexandra Kidgell