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JLO to perform Handel's 'Messiah'

Posted: April 25, 2012 - 11:01pm

Juneau Lyric Opera, the JLO chorus, conductor Bruce Simonson and the orchestra will present two performances of Handel’s oratorio masterwork, “Messiah,” in its entirety this weekend at the Thunder Mountain High School auditorium. The work will be performed twice over a three-day period, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. One ticket of $25 ($18 for seniors, $10 for students) provides admission into all performances.

This project involved the cooperation of JLO, the Juneau Bach Society, the Alaska Youth Choir, and high school chorus members. Singers young and old have been preparing since last fall, with adult singers meeting weekly at Resurrection Lutheran Church to practice as a group under Simonson’s direction.

The full work has not been produced in Juneau for more than 10 years.

The popularity of part one of Handel’s masterwork, which centers on the story of Christ’s birth, makes Christmas the usual setting for performances -- and local singers offered a performance of part one this past December. But the full work, which includes parts two and three and spans more than two hours, also covers the story of Christ’s death and resurrection, making spring an ideal time to present it. The first public performance of the work, in 1742, was in April.

Friday’s performance, which begins at 8 p.m., will feature part one, and will be preceeded by a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m. Featured soloists for the evening will be Kathleen Wayne, Katie Jensen, Jessica Skiba, Mark Calvert and Philippe Damerval.

Saturday’s performance also begins at 8 p.m., with a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m., and features parts two and three. Soloists for the evening will be Kathleen Wayne, Katie Jensen, Jessica Skiba, Mark Calvert and Philippe Damerval.

On Sunday, the adult chorus will be joined by the Juneau Douglas High School Choir and the Alaska Youth Choir. Sunday’s performance, which begins at 3 p.m., will include parts one, two and three. Soloists for Sunday are Mark Calvert, Brett Crawford, Philippe Damerval, Sandy Fortier, Derrick Grimes, John Haywood, Katie Jensen, Catherine Pashigian, Kristina Paulick, Jay Query, Jessica Skiba, Laurie Soderstrom, Andrea Thomas, Kathleen Wayne and Anne Weske.

A one-hour intermission wil be held at approximately 4:30 p.m., at which point audience members can enjoy a box supper from Abby’s Kitchen in the TMHS Commons. Suppers must be purchased in advance.

For more information, visit www.juneauopera.org.

To read a previous Empire article about this project, visit juneauempire.com/art/2011-12-15/handels-messiah-returns-town-after-long-absence.

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