LSM Newswire

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Acclaimed conductor Trevor Pinnock returns to the National Arts Centre to lead the NAC Orchestra and gifted soloists in Handel’s Messiah

on December 15-16 in Southam Hall

OTTAWA, December 3, 2009 —An undisputed highlight of the NAC’s 40th Anniversary season, Handel’s Messiah will be performed at 7 p.m. (please note early curtain time) in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Tuesday December 15 and Wednesday December 16.

The NAC Orchestra will be under the baton of conductor Trevor Pinnock. Soloists performing this treasured holiday classic will be radiant soprano Geraldine McGreevy; Marie-Nicole Lemieux, a Canadian contralto known for the richness, warmth and resonance of her voice; Canadian tenor Benjamin Butterfield, famous for his absolutely gorgeous voice and total musicality; and rising star Robert Gleadow, hailed for the rare beauty of his supple bass-baritone. They will be joined by the Cantata Singers of Ottawa and Seventeen Voyces.

Trevor Pinnock is a renowned British conductor and harpsichordist. Mr. Pinnock was also artistic director and principal conductor of the NAC Orchestra from 1991 to 1996. As Steven Mazey wrote in the Ottawa Citizen on November 14, 2009 “…[Pinnock] seems to have a special feeling for Handel’s Messiah…. His recording of the piece has been widely praised as among the best versions available, and his Ottawa performances of Messiah have been memorable. …in 2004, music critic Richard Todd praised [Pinnock’s performances] as “the most refined and musical Messiah to grace Southam Hall in many years. Pinnock’s sense of the music’s shape and proportion would be hard to find in another conductor, and he found beauty in many details that normally flow by unnoticed.”

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) – whom Beethoven called “the greatest composer that ever lived” – was arguably the most cosmopolitan and versatile theatrical composer of the Baroque period. He was born and trained in Germany, achieved mastery and success in every musical genre while in Italy, and then settled for nearly five decades in England, during which time he assimilated all those nation’s musical styles and specialised in operas and oratorios.

Messiah was first performed in Dublin in 1742. It immediately won huge popular success and has become the most performed and recorded and listened-to choral work in the repertoire. The popularity of Messiah is not difficult to explain. Musical scholars note the spaciousness in Handel’s music, the dramatic silences, and the stirring contrast.. Handel’s music often blends different styles, including English church music, the German Passion-music tradition, and the Italian melodic style.

Although often regarded as Christmas music, Messiah was actually written for Easter, a celebration of birth, but also of death and resurrection. Handel composed Messiah in 24 days without once leaving his house. While writing the "Hallelujah Chorus", his servant discovered him with tears in his eyes. He exclaimed, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself!!” The King was so deeply stirred with the exultant music that when the first ‘Hallelujah’ rang through the hall, he rose to his feet and remained standing until the last note of the chorus echoed through the house. From this began the custom of standing for the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus.

Trevor Pinnock at the harpsichord


December 20, 2009 ~ 2 p.m.

Auditorium of the National Gallery of Canada

Adults $29 Students (with ID) $14.50

Program includes:
CORELLI Concerto Grosso, op. 6, No. 8 "Christmas Concerto"
BACH Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major

HANDEL Trio Sonata in B minor, op. 2, No. 1 for Flute, Violin, and Continuo

TELEMANN Burlesque de Don Quixotte

VIVALDI “Winter” from The Four Seasons

Trevor Pinnock, harpsichord
Yosuke Kawasaki, Jessica Linnebach, violin
Joanna G’froerer, flute
Members of the NAC Orchestra

This concert will be recorded by Radio-Canada’s music radio network Espace musique (102,5 FM) for broadcast on Tuesday December 22, 2009 as part of Soirées classiques, which is presented from Monday to Thursday at 8 p.m. It will also be available on the Espace classique web radio service at The concert will also be broadcast on CBC Radio Two (103.3 FM)

on Tempo, with host Julie Nesrallah, on Wednesday December 23 at 11 a.m.

The NAC Orchestra performs Handel’s Messiah in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Tuesday December 15 and Wednesday December 16 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25, $34, $46, $54, $64, $74, and $89 for adults and $13.75, $18.25, $24.25, $28.25, $33.25, $38.25 and $45.75 for students (upon presentation of a valid student ID card). Tickets are available at the NAC Box Office (in person) and through Ticketmaster (with surcharges) at 613-755-1111; Ticketmaster may also be accessed through the NAC’s website

Subject to availability, full-time students (aged 13-29) with valid Live Rush™ membership may buy up to 2 tickets per performance at the discount price of $11 per ticket. Tickets are available online ( or at the NAC box office from 10 a.m. on the day before the performance until 6 p.m. on the day of the show or 2 hours before a matinee. Groups of 10 or more save 15% to 20% off regular ticket prices to all NAC Music, Theatre and Dance performances; to reserve your seats, call Julie Laroche at 613-947-7000, ext. 634 or e-mail

For additional information, visit the NAC website at



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