Michael Vincent, Musical Toronto.
Braving a Sunday afternoon in downtown Toronto during a busy holiday shopping weekend is no job for amateurs. So when the Toronto Symphony Orchestra opened their annual Messiah this past Sunday, I jumped at the chance to spend an afternoon with Handel’s holiday classic.
I wasn’t alone. There were hoards of people in puffy winter parkas with the same idea. As a balm to the busyness happening just yards away, a very different kind of Messiah unfolded.
This year’s shift away from the TSO’s “Mega Messiah” was a welcome return to the smaller, baroque-styled focus led by conductor Nicholas McGegan. While I’m not nearly brave enough to argue for one approach over the other, the results spoke for themselves and McGegan’s approach was embraced with open arms.
As for the chorus, the Toronto Mendelsohn Choir were on stage arranged on risers behind the orchestra. The aural effect was worthwhile. Rather than the typical arrangement of situating the chorus in the choir loft, on stage allowed for a centralised and cohesive reference emanating through the orchestra.
TMC’s female voices were in particularly fine form, and the overall balance was both polished and powerful. I think we all agree how lucky we are in Toronto to have a choir like the TMC to keep choral music at such a high standard in our city.
Read the full review on Musical Toronto.