• By: Katie Hartai

’Tis the Season for Handel

More than 250 years after its completion, George Frideric Handel’s joyous Messiah continues to be appreciated by audiences around the world. Coming to the capital region this holiday season, Finest Moments from Messiah will be presented by the combined effort of the Ottawa Classical Choir and the New World Philharmonic Orchestra.

“When the Messiah is played in its entirety it is two and a half hours long,” explained Nicole Belecque, chair of the Ottawa Classical Choir. “We are doing the best or most loved areas, duets and solos from the Messiah which is basically the first and second part.”

unnamedHeld at the Canadian Museum of History Theatre on Sunday, December 7, the matinee performance will be under the direction of Maestro Michel Brousseau. An accomplished musician, Brousseau is artistic director of the New World Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as four choral ensembles based in Montréal, Ste-Thérèse, Mont-Tremblant and Ottawa. He has conducted renowned orchestras and performers in Italy, France, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, the United States and Canada.

Brousseau will be conducting 140 choristers and an 11-piece orchestra at the upcoming concert, expected to attract several hundred listeners.

“The theatre is 500 seats so it is a lot of people, but we can still have a nice intimate performance keeping with the spirit of baroque music,” Belecque said.

Special guest soloists include soprano Ania Henjnar and baritone Marc Boucher. Henjnar is the recipient of numerous vocal awards including the Canadian Music Competition and the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition. Also a multi-award winner, Boucher has twice won the Prix Opus by the Conseil quebecois de la musique.

“The holiday music will kick off the Christmas season in the nice theatre of the museum,” Belecque said. “A beautiful setting for beautiful music.”

Tickets are $35 regular and $45 reserved. For information on where to buy yours, visit the Ottawa Classical Choir website. The choir can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.