A memorable Messiah

We were proud to see another lovely review of the Cantata and Camerata’s Messiah. This one appeared in the KM on 12 January. Thank you to John Rose for allowing us to publish it here, too:

No Christmas would be truly complete without a performance of George Frideric Handel’s most familiar and arguably best loved Oratorio Messiah with the libretto compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible and the Book of Psalms in the 1662 Prayer Book. This immense undertaking was completed by Handel within the space of four weeks.

A highly memorable performance was given by Canterbury Cantata, with orchestral accompaniment by Camerata, ably led by Stelios Chatziiosfidis, and conducted with great precision, authority and passion by Artistic Director, Grenville Hancox, at St Peter’s Methodist Church, Canterbury, on the evening of Saturday, 17 December.

The cold and foggy evening receded well into the background as the capacity audience soaked up the warmth, pathos and intimacy of the performance. Messiah always sounds fresher and speaks more eloquently and directly to its audience when performed by small ensembles. Cantata consisted of 27 singers and Camerata just 13 players, which seemed just right. Singers and orchestra supported each other magnificently throughout helped, no doubt, by the fact that they have collaborated on this work on a number of occasions and by Grenville’s faultless direction.

The soloists were outstanding: Katie Bilner’s beautiful soprano voice was eloquent and precise whilst Lord Mayor of Canterbury Award winner, Amelia-Rose Hamilton, sang the soprano part of He shall Feed his Flock with a pure and crystal clear voice which was intensely moving and poignant. Felicity Allen (Alto), Robin Whitehouse (Tenor) and Basses Tony Eldridge, Mark Gardner and Kieran Seymour, all sang their parts with great feeling, dramatic precision and true professionalism as they brought this most moving of stories to its inevitable conclusion with peerless support from the chorus.

Early performances of Messiah were given to finance the London Foundling Hospital Charity. It is therefore entirely appropriate that Canterbury Cantata Trust has financially supported funding for the St Peter’s School Family Liaison Officer with some of the proceeds from this performance.


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