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A Holiday Tradition: the Richmond Symphony and Richmond Symphony Chorus Present Handel’s Messiah

November 15, 2018



A Holiday Tradition: the Richmond Symphony and Richmond Symphony Chorus Present Handel’s Messiah

Handel’s Messiah
Saturday, December 8 at 7:30pm
Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts

November 15, 2018 – Richmond, Virginia: The Richmond Symphony and Richmond Symphony Chorus proudly present Handel’s Messiah, a classical fixture of the holiday season. A time-honored and cherished piece, Messiah is a well-loved tradition that has delighted Richmonders for generations. Conducted by Chia-Hsuan Lin, the concert will take place on December 8 at 7:30pm at the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

Handel was an 18th century German composer who came to prominence by writing Italian operas for English audiences. He eventually transitioned from operatic composition to oratorio writing, due to the form’s lower production costs and his interest in sacred religious texts. Despite its Easter debut in 1742, Handel’s Messiah is now known and loved for its Yuletide presentations world-wide. Though not an overnight sensation, the work was initially met with great success, and soon considered a classic by concertgoers. The piece, originally written in less than a month, continued to evolve as the composer reworked parts and pieces depending on the abilities of the singers and orchestra he had available for each subsequent performance.

Messiah differs from Handel’s previous oratorios; lacking a structured plot, it instead relies on a loose narrative of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection. The work’s first part focuses on the prophesy of Christ’s birth. By the early 19th century, its prominence had reached the United States, traditionalized as a staple in the winter holiday season.

Chia-Hsuan Lin bio.

Tickets start at $20 for adults, and $14 for children 18 and under. Visit richmondsymphony.com or call 804.788.1212 for more information. This concert is sponsored by The Wauford Group.


Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 8:00 PM
Richmond Symphony

Chia-Hsuan Lin, conductor and Jack & Mary Ann Frable Associate Conductor Chair
Clara Rottsolk, soprano
Jessica Renfro, mezzo-soprano
Cameo Humes, tenor
Calvin Griffin, bass-baritone
Jonathan Moyer, harpsichord
Richmond Symphony Chorus
Erin R. Freeman, Director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus and James Erb Choral Chair


            HANDEL          Messiah                                  


  1. Sinfonia
  2. Arioso: Comfort ye, my people (tenor)
  3. Air: Ev’ry valley shall be exalted (tenor)
  4. Chorus: And the glory of the Lord
  5. Recitative: Thus saith the Lord (bass)
  6. Air: But who may abide the day of his coming? (alto)
  7. Chorus: And he shall purify
  8. Recitative: Behold, a virgin shall conceive (alto)
  9. Air and Chorus: O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion (alto and chorus)
  10. Arioso: For behold, darkness shall cover the earth (bass)
  11. Air: The people that walked in darkness (bass)
  12. Chorus: For unto us a child is born
  13. Pifa (Pastoral Symphony)

14a. Recitative: There were shepherds abiding in the field (soprano)

14b. Recitative: And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them (soprano)

  1. Recitative: And the angel said unto them (soprano)
  2. Recitative: And suddenly there was with the angel (soprano)
  3. Chorus: Glory to God
  4. Air: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion (soprano)
  5. Recitative: Then shall the eyes of the blind (alto)
  6. Air: He shall feed his flock (alto)

Air: Come unto Him, all ye that labor (soprano)

  1. Chorus: His yoke is easy, and His burthen is light



  1. Chorus: Behold the Lamb of God
  2. Air: He was despised (alto)
  3. Chorus: Surely he hath borne our griefs
  4. Chorus: And with his stripes we are healed
  5. Chorus: All we like sheep have gone astray
  6. Recitative: All they that see Him laugh him to scorn (tenor)
  7. Chorus: He trusted in God
  8. Recitative: Thy rebuke hath broken His heart (tenor)
  9. Arioso: Behold, and see if there be any sorrow (tenor)
  10. Recitative: He was cut off out of the land of the living (tenor)
  11. Air: But thou didst not leave his soul in hell (tenor)
  12. Chorus: Lift up your heads, O ye gates!
  13. Air: Thou art gone up on high (alto)
  14. Air: How beautiful are the feet of them (soprano)
  15. Air: Why do the nations so furiously rage together? (bass)
  16. Chorus: Let us break their bonds asunder
  17. Recitative: He that dwelleth in Heaven (tenor)
  18. Air: Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron (tenor)
  19. Chorus: Hallelujah


  1. Air: I know that my redeemer liveth (soprano)
  2. Chorus: Since by man came death
  3. Recitative: Behold, I tell you a mystery (bass)
  4. Air: The trumpet shall sound (bass)
  5. Chorus: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain/Blessing and honor/Amen


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About the Richmond Symphony (www.richmondsymphony.com):

Celebrating its 61st Season in 2018/19, the Richmond Symphony is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia. The organization includes an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus and 300 students in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra programs. Each season, more than 200,000 members of the community enjoy live concerts and radio broadcasts. The Symphony also provides educational outreach programs to over 55,000 students and teachers each year. The Symphony was recently named one of 21 American orchestras selected as a leader in orchestra innovation by the League of American Orchestras through its Futures Fund Initiative. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Visit www.richmondsymphony.com for more information.


About the Richmond Symphony Chorus
James Erb organized the all-volunteer Richmond Symphony Chorus in 1971 for a December performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, under guest conductor Robert Shaw. For 36 years, Mr. Erb continued to direct and build the chorus to reflect the Symphony’s high standards. Erin Freeman assumed leadership of the Chorus at the start of its 2007-08 season. The repertoire for its auditioned volunteer membership has included most of the standard repertoire for chorus and orchestra: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion and Mass in B Minor, Haydn’s Creation, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Choral Fantasy, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Requiem settings by Mozart, Brahms, Verdi and Fauré, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, and all of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe. Over the years, the Chorus has also sung shorter choral-orchestral works by Handel, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Bruckner, Delius, Debussy, Barber, Britten, Richard Strauss, Vaughn Williams, Stravinsky, Olivier Messiaen, and Dallapiccola. Recent projects have included a performance and recording of Mahler Symphony No. 8 with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of JoAnn Falletta, a performance with the Richmond Symphony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and, in celebration of its 40th anniversary, a recreation of the Chorus’s inaugural performance of Missa Solemnis.


Erin Frye
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Scott Dodson
Director of Advancement and Patron Communications
804.788.4717 ext. 120