Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Handel's Messiah - The American Bach Soloists at the Grace Cathedral

Christmas in the City - Union SquareEvery Christmas holiday, Mijo and I try to see a choir performance at San Francisco's magnificent Grace Cathedral. This year though, we were not able to see their Boys and Mens choir performance because of commitments at the work place. Luckily, the American Bach Soloists was having performances of Handel's Messiah at the Cathedral. We never had second thoughts buying the tickets since both of us have not seen this beloved holiday tradition in the city.

We both were truly blessed and the glorious music and the long programme allowed me to reflect on the important matters in my life. It is Christmas time in the city! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! 

Handel's Messiah - Grace Cathedral
The American Bach Soloists, with their music director Jeffrey Thomas, are starting their 24th season and their 2012-2013 season with performances of Handel's Messiah. The venue of the performance is at the Grace Cathedral in the Nob Hill neighborhood of the city. We knew parking was going to be a challenge this time of the year in that area so Mijo and I decided to take BART and then we hopped on the Powell St. cable car line to get to California St. Not bad feeling like tourists all over again, I thought to myself.

The American Bach Soloists ensemble and the American Bach Choir were seated in front of the church altar and in the middle facing the audience. I wish they were put on a higher platform so everyone can see them, though that does not matter much since we came here to listen more than watch. The audience were all seated and very calm while waiting for the performance to start. I noticed everyone was almost whispering when they talk. The program has three parts and each part has several scenes describing the stages in the life of the Messiah. Each scene has a recitative, an aria and then the duet or chorus. The sound of the instrument and the voice of the choir are crystal clear.  They are probably one of the best live performances that I've ever heard.

Handel's Messiah - American Bach Soloists
There was one intermission at the end of the 1st part and this is where I walked around the cathedral halls and later I picked up a music cd entitled Carols for Christmas also by the American Bach Soloists. There was one point during the performance that it felt like I was being transported back to the Christmastime during the Rennaissance. Everyone stood up during Scene VII of the 2nd part during the Hallelujah! It felt as if I was taken to heaven at that moment. It was truly a wondrous and thrilling experience!

The performance ran from December 20 through 22, 2012 at 7:30pm at the Grace Cathedral.


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