Handel’s ‘Messiah’ Returns to Southeast

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 14, 2003 — The Department of Music at Southeast Missouri State University will present Handel’s “Messiah” at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 2, in Academic Auditorium.  The performance will be presented by the Choral Union, the University Choir and the University Orchestra.

The orchestra is directed by Sara Edgerton, and the University Choir and Choral Union are directed by John Egbert, who will conduct the concert.  Vocal soloists for the performance are soprano Lori Shaffer; alto Leslie Jones; tenor Christopher Goeke; and baritone Thomas Lowery.

“Messiah” is the longest running musical work of all time, and has been performed around the world, annually, for more than two and one-half centuries.  Its universal appeal extends across the entire spectrum of music consumers–from the artistically sophisticated to the novice.  It was written in London in 1741 at an incredible pace.  The entire work was written in just over three weeks–a monumental task considering the hundreds of thousand of notes and words that had to be handwritten.

Handel, an extremely successful opera composer, gained his universally immense popularity through oratorio.  The two musical forms–opera and oratorio–were noticeable similar (recitatives and arias alternated with chorus and orchestra).  However, oratorio texts were in English (London concert goers couldn’t understand Italian) and the stories were usually based on Biblical material.  Handel’s oratorios are not regarded as church music, but are intended for the concert hall.  To replace the lost visual lure of opera, Handel created greater drama in his music by incorporating additional movements for chorus and orchestra.

In discussing the concert, Egbert said, “‘Messiah’ is one of the most enduring and well-known works of all time.  We haven’t performed “Messiah” in five years and I was beginning to hear about it, so this is one of those, ‘Back by popular demand’ concerts. But, we love performing ‘Messiah’  and the community loves hearing it.”

Free concert shuttles will be provided to and from Academic Hall from several University parking lots on Henderson, running from about 7:15 until about 9:15 p.m.  The specific parking lots are:  Lot 52 (across Henderson from Cheney Hall), Lot 35 (next to Cheney Hall) and  Lot 1 (Dempster business building).

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by calling the University Performing Arts Box Office.  Tickets are $7 for the public; $6 for Southeast faculty, staff, and senior citizens; and $5 for students. All tickets will be $7 at the door, but advanced tickets (with applicable discounts) are available by calling (573) 651-2265 or by stopping by the Performing Arts Box Office, located in the lobby of the Rose Theatre.  Preferred-reserved seating (balcony and front/center floor) is available for $12.