The Merry Opera Company presents Handel's MESSIAH

The Merry Opera Company presents
Handel’s MESSIAH
The universal story of Birth, Death and Resurrection.

Taking a different path from the tradition of static soloists and huge choirs reading their music, The Merry Opera Company’s staged production features a cast of just 12 singers and will be touring Kent in Spring, as well as a performance in the Norwegian Church & Seamen’s Mission this coming Sunday (11 December) with the Southwark Sinfonia Orchestra.

Director John Ramster’s dramatisation of Handel’s Messiah focuses on the universal themes of Birth, Death and Resurrection. Twelve strangers find themselves in church. Each has their own story and is seeking help and comfort. Some have faith, some do not. As the oratorio unfolds each has a distinct path to follow and a part to play – right here, right now, in this church. Starting as strangers they come together finding hope, fulfilment and serenity through The Messiah, reaffirming their faith.

John Ramster has an international career directing in the UK, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Serbia. He is a regular director at the Royal Academy and on the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House. Future work includes a return to the Belgrade National Opera in 2012/13 season, writing an opera libretto for Quartermaine Smith and a new book about Handel.

Music Director and Conductor Stephen Hose is Music Director for The Merry Opera Company’s productions of Troy Boy / La Belle Hélène, The Barber of Savile Row and Orpheus Downunder and is Music Director for OperaUK. He was Chorus Master for Duke Ellington’s Sacred Songs with Jessye Norman (Barbican Theatre, London & Epidavros, Greece).

Some people love opera, others have difficulty finding a way in. The Merry Opera Company widens the appeal of opera by staging professional shows in modern English that break the framework of tradition and can be appreciated by audiences accustomed to music theatre and pantomime, while staying true to the core of the original. For those who love opera, the shows bring fresh interpretations of classic works. For those new to opera, the shows are understandable, interesting and enjoyable.

In The Merry Opera Company’s dramatisation of Handel’s Messiah, twelve strangers seek spiritual comfort in their struggle to understand the world. Singing together in a church, they are inspired to pick up the ragged ends of their faith and re-affirm their belief in God and Humanity. This is a rare staged production featuring a cast of 12, with organ accompaniment.

Handel’s Messiah is an English oratorio composed by George Frideric Handel in 1741, and is one of the most popular works in the Western choral literature. The libretto by Charles Jennens is drawn entirely from the King James and Great Bibles, and interprets the Christian doctrine of the Messiah. Messiah, often incorrectly called The Messiah, is one of Handel's most famous works. Messiah presents an interpretation of the Christian view of the Messiah, or "the anointed one" as Jesus the Christ. Divided into three parts, the libretto covers the prophecies concerning the Christ, the birth, miracles, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and finally the End Times with the Christ's final victory over death and sin.

Director: John Ramster
Musical Director and Conductor: Stephen Hose
Assistant Director: Preece Killick
Costume Design: Michelle Bradbury
Wardrobe: Pedrick Moore
Organ: Hannah Parry-Ridout
Cast: Larissa Blackshaw, Rhonda Browne, Christine Cunnold, Timothy Hamilton, WeiHsi Hu, John Lattimore, Clare Presland, Daniel Roddick, Nicholas Scott, Elaine Tate,
Glenn Tweedie, Matthew Quirk
Produced by: The Merry Opera Company

LONDON DATES: December 11 – The Norwegian Church & Seamen’s Mission
KENT DATES: April 7 (Easter Saturday) – Tunbridge Wells; April 15 – Tonbridge; April 28 – Staplehurst; April – Broadstairs
Further venues are under consideration, and will tour in autumn 2012.