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Handel: Messiah


  • From Saturday 23rd to Sunday December 24th 2023
  • Royal Chapel
  • 2h50 with intermission
Accueil Handel: Messiah 2023


  • Marie Lys Soprano
  • Nicolò Balducci Countertenor
  • Laurence Kilsby Tenor
  • Alex Rosen Bass
  • Chœur de l’Opéra Royal
  • Orchestre de l’Opéra Royal
  • Under the high patronage of Aline Foriel-Destezet
  • Gaétan Jarry Conductor


Messiah is a work whose reputation goes beyond all others by the composer. This oratorio was premièred in Dublin in 1742, and it met with resounding success from the very beginning: so great was the demand for tickets that gentlemen were asked to “refrain from wearing their swords” and ladies to avoid “dresses with skirt-hoops” in order to make more room for attendees and thereby enhance the revenue “intended for charitable work”. For the grand alto aria “He was despised”, the Reverend Delany, overcome with emotion, stood and cried out to the singer, “Woman, for this may all your sins be pardoned!”

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Revived in London, Messiah quickly became Handel’s signature work.  Performed thirty-six times during his lifetime, it quickly represented the epitome of sublime and majestic music.  Charles Jennens constructed the libretto dedicated to Christ in three parts: Nativity; Passion and Resurrection, and Redemption. The ideal alternation of solo arias and choruses is admirable, and Handel’s lyrical science is omnipresent in the arias: by turns soothing and victorious, they are among the composer’s most beautiful.  The memorable choruses have remained in our minds and ears for over two hundred and fifty years. In London, King George II was so moved by the Hallelujah that he rose to his feet, followed by the entire audience, and every British audience since.


The Choir and Orchestra of the Opéra Royal, directed by Gaétan Jarry, will make a marvellous accompaniment to the quartet of the very finest young singers chosen for these Christmas concerts, which will also be performed in Uzès and Lyon.

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First part: 1h20


Second part: 1h10

Concert in English with French surtitles

The Royal Chapel of the Château de Versailles

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And also…

CD Haendel – Messiah

Like King George II, who could not contain his enthusiasm when he heard the mythical Hallejuah! and rose to his feet in applause, our ears cannot remain unmoved by this monument to Handel’s sacred music, which Hervé Niquet, at the height of his art, has brought to life for a dazzling edification of the soul, à l’anglaise !
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