Handel’s Messiah
March 17 at 4:00
one performance only

Worthy is the Lamb, manuscript

Manuscript of chorus, “Worthy is the lamb,” in Handel’s Messiah.

Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra Tempesta di Mare and Choral Arts Philadelphia collaborate for the first time to perform Handel’s seasonal masterpiece, Messiah. The state-of-the-art performance features the composer’s rarely-heard original orchestration, baroque instruments, chamber chorus, and renowned vocal soloists Ah Young Hong, Jennifer Lane, Aaron Sheehan and William Sharp. The performance takes place on Sunday, March 17 at 4:00 at the University of Pennsylvania’s Irvine Auditorium, 3401 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Tickets and Information: $25-60, Seniors $45-20, Students $10. Tickets online at and at the door. For information call 215-755-8776 or visit

The sound and style of this first-time collaboration by two of Philadelphia’s finest ensembles will come close to what the composer led at its premiere in Dublin on April 13, 1742.

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Messiah artwork

image credit: Andy Kahl, et al.
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Click to hear instrumental music by Handel from a past program:

performed by Tempesta di Mare
Opus 10 Festival, May 2012

More than 270 years after its premiere, Messiah has become the most performed oratorio in the English-speaking world. But for modern audiences used to Messiah performed by large choruses and big symphony orchestras, this Easter-season performance by Choral Arts Philadelphia and Philadelphia baroque orchestra Tempesta di Mare promises to be an ear-opener.

The sound and style of this first-time collaboration by two of Philadelphia’s finest ensembles—a chamber-sized chorus and an orchestra of valveless trumpets, timpani, baroque strings, harpsichord, organ and theorbo—will come close to what the composer led at its premiere in Dublin on April 13, 1742.

“The lighter forces of our combined chorus and orchestra will lend the music a crisper, more nimble sound than what the large forces everyone is used to can produce, and still with plenty of power when you need it. And our scale of production is what Handel wrote for. Those grand-scale performances, which I still love, only came about after Handel’s time,” Tempesta’s co-Director Richard Stone remarked.


George Frideric Handel

Now a Christmas-time favorite, Handel planned Messiah for Easter season, which is why the groups decided to produce their collaboration in March.

Since Messiah is a familiar work to the choir members, “the biggest challenge is to take the previous approaches to the piece out of their heads and move in the direction of a state-of-the-art approach to Handel,” said Artistic Director of Choral Arts, Matthew Glandorf.

Another challenge for the choir will be that there is no conductor to follow, which is the normal, baroque-style approach for Tempesta’s instrumentalists but rare for a modern choir. “The idea of the “maestro” on the podium is essentially a 19th century invention,” commented Glandorf, who will be playing organ in the performance. However, the chamber-music approach also represents a great advantage “as it opens a whole new way for a choir of listening and reacting to what is going on.”

Tempesta’s other Co-Director, Gwyn Roberts, adds, “Matthew Glandorf has transformed Choral Arts into the ideal choir for baroque music: lithe, colorful, clean, and expressive, with words you can hear all the way to the back of the hall. And all four soloists are superb. I can’t wait to hear them all sing with our orchestra!”

This project is supported in part by a special projects grant from The Presser Foundation, with additional production support from Cancer Treatment Centers of America.