I’m reviewing the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Tafelmusik performances of Handel’s Messiah in a single review, for Friday’s Toronto Star. But I cant help sharing a quick first impression of Wednesday night’s first performance by the TSO at Roy Thomson Hall.
In a nutshell, the period-style, modern instrument interpretation by the TSO and Toronto Mendelssohn Choir is sleek, polished and elegant at the hands of conductor Nicholas Kraemer, who directs from the harpsichord.
Two of the soloists — soprano Suzie LeBlanc and tenor Lawrence Williford — are exceptional. The choir was amazing.
But I found that this particular performance valued beauty over emotional connection. I could admire it like a piece of carefully wrought abstract art, not engage with it on a visceral level.
It’s a triumph of beauty over brawn.
But is this what Messiah is all about?
More on that tomorrow.
For all the details on the TSO’s performances, click here.