The Arts

Toronto Symphony Orchestra – Handel’s Messiah

Toronto Symphony Orchestra – Handel’s Messiah featured image

reviewed by Paula Citron
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Messiah
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Composed by George Frederic Handel
Conducted by Jean-Marie Zeitouni
Starring Shannon Mercer, Krisztina Szabó, Colin Balzer and Tyler Duncan
At Roy Thomson Hall until Dec. 21

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There is something fitting about arriving home from Israel in the morning and attending the TSO’s Messiah in the evening. More to the point, there are many reasons to be joyous about this all-Canadian cast performance.

Anyone who follows my reviews knows I’m a champion of the young Quebec conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni. He made Messiah breathe with new resonance, adding a lute and guitar, violin obbligato, and a wonderfully dramatic interpretation of Handel’s music. I heard directly from the TSO musicians that they love him.

Both tenor Colin Balzer and baritone Tyler Duncan, making their TSO debuts, share the same light, sweet clarity to their voices. They are impressive singers and I hope we see more of them in town. Feathery-voiced soprano Shannon Mercer and honey, warm mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó were their usual excellent selves. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir was particularly sharp.

This could be one of the best Messiah performances ever.

Messiah continues at Roy Thomson Hall until Dec. 21.

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