by Paula Citron.
British conductor and baroque maven Nicholas Kraemer was imported by the TSO to conduct Messiah this year and he gives a thoughtful and tasteful reading of Handel’s beloved oratorio. The orchestra is scaled right back to baroque proportions, while Kraemer also has gone back to early music practise. There is no bombast. He left himself room to play with tempi and pauses, and more importantly, room to build power when necessary. What marks this Messiah is a real connection to text as Kraemer concentrated on telling a story.
Three of the soloists are making TSO debuts. The great soprano Susie Leblanc’s gossamer feathery voice holds its own against the orchestra, while American bass-baritone Stephen Morscheck is a real find with his robust, compelling voice. Mezzo-soprano Laura Pudwell has gorgeous low notes but her high register tends to the shrill. Tenor Michael Schade is dramatic. The ornamentation for all properly augments the words.
Messiah continues until Friday.
From Roy Thomson Hall, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for The New CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.