If you've heard Handel's Messiah a hundred times — or perhaps never — you're in for something special Friday, December 21 at 8 p.m. We recorded this performance at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis on Sunday evening, December 12, 2011 and it was a treat.
Whatever British conductor Nicholas Kraemer did while rehearsing the pared-down Minnesota Orchestra (only 30 players) and Minnesota Chorale (50 voices) from their usual ranks worked big time. There was such a freshness and joy and clarity, as if the singers and players were reading a manuscript. The soloists that Kraemer and the Orchestra picked to join them were also exceptional.
I have to single out the Canadian soprano Suzie LeBlanc. Hers isn't a big peal-the-paint-off-the-back-wall voice. Think instead of a single gorgeous strand of spun silver, handled with unbelievable finesse and imagination as she ornamented Handel's arias. This is a Messiah for those who've heard it countless times, or who want to discover for the first time why this piece is so beloved.