Soprano Laura Heimes '90 is one of four soloists taking part in SUNY Geneseo's presentation of Handel's "Messiah."
GENESEO, N.Y. - Performances of Handel's "Messiah" typically involve large choirs with robust instrumentation, but SUNY Geneseo's Chamber Singers and four guest soloists will present the work more in line with Handel's original concept during a concert Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. in the college's Wadsworth Auditorium.
"We have chosen to do a historically informed performance," said Gerard Floriano, professor of music at Geneseo, who will conduct the presentation. "The first performances of ‘Messiah' involved smaller forcesthan we are accustomed to hearing in modern performances. Our performance will involve the Geneseo Chamber Singers, a chorus of about 45 singers, and the Geneseo Chamber Symphony, an ensemble of about 25 players. Our goal is not only to show off the crisp melodies and sparkling textures, but to give a spirited and warm-hearted reading of this timeless masterpiece."
The performance will feature four well-known soloists: Soprano Laura Heimes, a 1990 Geneseo graduate from New Jersey, who performs all over the world and has eight vocal CDs to her credit; mezzo-soprano Jami Tyzik, who has performed internationally in various opera, pops and orchestral venues; tenor Gregory Kunde from Penfield, who has performed in some of the most well-known opera houses in the world; and baritone Derrick Smith, who has sung in various orchestral and stage performances around the world.
"This is a most exciting slate of soloists who will be singing with us," said Floriano. "They are about as good as they come in this repertoire."
Floriano attributes the wide-ranging appeal of "Messiah" to various factors but emphasizes the historic endurance.
"'Messiah' became very popular again after Handel's death and in the 19th century when it was performed regularly by various groups and singing societies throughout Europe utilizing massive forces," said Floriano. "This popularity has never waned. ‘Messiah' also has great, memorable melodies and a text by Jennens, which is at once sublime, majestic and moving."
Tickets for the performance are $10 for the general public and $8 for students and senior citizens with proceeds supporting the Geneseo Chamber Singers. A discount of $2 per ticket will be given for a purchase of ten or more in any combination. Tickets are available at the Brodie Hall Box Office (245-5833) with cash or check only.