Handel's Messiah

Critic's Pick Release Date: 2010-12-01

Divided into three parts (think Christmas, followed by resurrection/ascension, and finally the dreaded Book of Revelation) George Frideric Handel’s Messiah is considered one of the most popular works in Western choral literature. As legend has it, Handel, broke and depressed, wrote Messiah in 24 days while visiting the summer home of Charles Jennens ? who wrote the Biblical libretto on which the oratorio is based. Often, yuletide sing-alongs stick to Messiah’s first part and replace His Yoke is Easy with a crowd-pleasing Hallelujah chorus, which, given Handel’s penchant for tailoring his works for any given performance, wouldn’t have bothered the old chap much. Under the direction of Patrick Dupré Quigley, the San Antonio Symphony and its Mastersingers perform this holiday classic ? which includes selections from Messiah’s second and third parts in an intermission-less, 75-minute-long performance ? over three evenings in three SA neighborhoods. Trivia: Based on yearly performances since 1853, Australia’s Royal Melbourne Philharmonic holds the record for “unbroken sequence” of performances of Handel’s Messiah. $25, 7:30pm Fri, Dec 3 at University United Methodist Church, 5084 De Zavala; 7pm Sat, Dec 4 at Coker United Methodist Church, 231 E North Loop Rd.; 7:30pm Sun, Dec 5 at Trinity Baptist Church, 319 E Mulberry, (210) 554-1010, sasymphony.org.