Robert Hull, Planet Hugill
Intimate and text-driven: Handel’s Messiah from Ian Page and Classical Opera
The Temple Winter Festival came to a close on Monday 19 December 2016 with a performance of Handel’s Messiah in Middle Temple Hall, with Ian Page conducting the choir and orchestra of Classical Opera plus soloists Sarah Fox, Angela Simkin, Stuart Jackson and Neal Davies.
This was a relatively intimate account of the work, with a choir of nine young professional singers and an orchestral ensemble based on nine string players. This meant that the soloists could take advantage of the relatively favourable balance, and this was a very text-based performance as it should be. Ian Page favoured quite brisk speeds, particularly in the choruses as he was able to take advantage of the high degree of flexibility and technical expertise from his small group of choristers.
The overture moved from intimacy to grandeur, ending with a nicely perky fast section. The smaller string contingent meant that we got a lovely experience of Mark Baigent’s oboe.