Art Alert: Two evenings with Messiah by Cairo Choral Society

Ahram Online , Sunday 30 Nov 2014

On 3 and 4 December, the Cairo Choral Society will perform Messiah, the well-known work by George Frideric Handel, the Baroque-era composer

Cairo Choral Society
From left to right: Cairo Choral Society (fragment of photo form the choir's facebook), Handel's Messiah score, fragment of the painting representing birth of Christ

"And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it," -- sung by a chorus, the words in Handel's (1685-1759) Messiah introduce the coming of the Lord.

The Cairo Choral Society, one of the oldest and best established Egyptian choirs, will give their take on the Handel's iconic work on two consecutive evenings, 3 and 4 December, in All SaintsCathedral and Ewart Hall respectively.

The Cairo Festival Orchestra will be conducted by John Baboukis with David Hales as accompanist.

The evening will feature soprano Nevine Allouba, mezzo soprano Nathalie Alain, tenor Georges Wanis and bass Wassyl Slypak.

Messiah is an English-language oratorio based on the words from the Old Testament depicting the central theme of Christianity: birth, sacrifice for humankind and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Between the choir and the soloists, the mesmerising music is infused with a high spirituality and entwined with human passion, the components that lifted Handel's oratorio above all other compositions of the time and allowed it stand the test of time and the centuries to follow. Written in a few weeks, Messiah was a big success for the composer during his life and continues to be frequently performed by choirs across the world. The oratorios perfection and depth was hailed by Beethoven (1770-1827), who having listened to Messiah coined Handel as “the greatest composer who ever lived.” 

Listening to this oratorio in All Saints Cathedral is one of the unique experiences provided by the Cairo Choral Society. The second performance will take place at the American University in Cairo premises. The choir already performed Messiah in May 2011.

The Cairo Choral Society was established in 1983 by Larry P. Catlin with the purpose of understanding great choral works through performance. The choir operates under the umbrella of the American University in Cairo (AUC) and its Performing and Visual Arts (PVA) Department. John Baboukis is the music director and conductor of the choir. Baboukis is also an associate professor and chair of the Arts Department at the AUC.

The choir's repertoire includes Brahms' Ein Deutches Requiem, Haydn's Nelson Mass, Faure's Requiem, Bach's Christmas Oratorio, Mozart's Coronation Mass, Schubert's Stabat Mater, Dvorak's Mass in D, as well as works by Britten, Williams, Beethoven, Rossini, Handel, Puccini, and many others.

Wednesday 3 December, 8pm
All Saints' Cathedral, Zamalek (behind Marriott hotel)
Thursday 4 December, 8pm
Ewart Hall, American University in Cairo, Downtown campus, Cairo


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