Fine Messiah sung by City chorus

Handel’s vision of redemption in the Messiah is no less exhalted or deeply felt for being express in open-hearted, forthright musical language.

It does mean, though, than an ideally idiomatic performance must preserve Handel’s triumphant vitality with confident forward-moving singing. In last night’s performance at Bulawayo City Hall, John Fenton’s well-drilled chorus succeeded in this splendidly. Having as many tenors this time as basses also gave them better internal balance than usual.

Victoria Sumner’s stylish and accomplished soprano singing quite outshone the other solo performances, although Elizabeth Elsom’s warm toned – if not ideally steady or focused-contralto was often very pleasing; in He Shall Feed His Flock especially so.

But too often the male solos (The Right Rev. Kenneth Skelton and James McHarg) allowed the pulse to lapse into flaccid piety, and neither voice ever really filled the hall.

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