Birge's Picks

Hallelujah! It’s Handel’s 'Messiah'

George Frideric HandelWikimedia

November 28, 2022

The Dublin premiere of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah in 1742 was a humanitarian charity concert to benefit hospitals and prisons. To accommodate a larger audience, ladies were asked to wear skirts without hoops, and gentlemen were asked to leave their swords at home. More than 700 people crammed into a hall designed to seat 600, while many others were turned away.

Since then, Messiah “has fed the hungry, clothed the naked and fostered the orphan more than any single musical production in this or any other country,” as the historian Charles Burney observed. This holiday classic returns to Minnesota for another festive round. Let the Messiahthon begin!

  • The North Dakota State Choirs kick off the season on Dec. 1-2 in Fargo at First Lutheran. Afterward, they bring their show on the road to Minneapolis on Dec. 3 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral.

  • The South Dakota Symphony and Chorus set up at First Luther in Sioux Falls, for their annual tradition on Dec. 2-3.

  • In the Twin Cities, the Dakota Valley Symphony and Chorus perform on Dec. 4 in Burnsville.

  • The Minnesota Orchestra and the voices of Border CrosSing take a different path this year with El Mesías, a bilingual Spanish-English cross-cultural combination of Handel’s Messiah and Navidad Nuestra, a Christmas cantata by Argentinian composer Ariel Ramírez. The combination of Andean instruments and the Baroque orchestra blur the lines between Western classical and South American folk traditions. Make sure to catch the performances on Dec. 9 -10.

  • The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and The Singers collaborate to end their holiday season with a traditional Messiah on Dec. 15-18 at three venues, including the gorgeous cathedral environs of the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.

  • And if you want to sing too, there’s a community Messiah Singalong with the Golden Valley Orchestra on Dec. 10.

Rejoice greatly!!