Don’t miss the ‘Messiah’

2013-11-07 00:00

WRITTEN in just 24 days in 1741, Handel’s Messiah is traditionally performed during the festive season.

While many places hold an annual performance of the choral masterpiece, few can share Maritzburg’s boast that there has been a tradition of staging this incredible work over a period of more than 140 years.

This year, the Pietermaritzburg Amateur Music Society (Pams) and the Pietermaritzburg City Orchestra, under the baton of Robin Walton, will be performing Messiah at the Seth Mokitini Chapel at the Methodist Seminary, 115 Golf Road (next to Epworth School), Pietermaritzburg, at 2.30 pm on November 17.

The orchestra will be augmented by Christopher Cockburn on the organ, Nigel Fish on cello and Malcolm McKinley on trumpet.

This year’s four talented soloists will be Linelle Wimbles (soprano), Aukse Trinkunas (contralto), Wayne Mkhize (tenor) and Langelihle Mngxati (bass).

Wimbles, from Johannesburg, obtained her B.Mus degree (cum laude) from the University of Potchefstroom, where she majored in singing. Further studies took her to the Hochschule fur Musik und Theater in Munich.

She has won a number of awards, including the AKTV prize for singing. Her repertoire includes Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St John Passion and Christmas Oratorio. She has also performed the roles of Susan in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Papagena in The Magic Flute.

Trinkunas was born in Vilnius, Lithuania. Having obtained degrees in choral conducting and in operatic and concert singing at the Lithuanian Academy of Music, she was awarded a bursary to further her studies in Johannesburg, under Emma Renzi.

Her performing career has taken her to Russia, Italy, Poland and Cuba. In South Africa she has performed in oratoria, masses and opera around the country.

Trinkunas currently teaches singing at Crawford and St Stithians College in Johannesburg. This is her fourth appearance with Pams.

Mngxati, from Willowfountain, did a Bachelor’s degree in art music (opera) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Howard College). The talented bass showed his musical promise from his earliest school days.

Trained by Dr Joshua Radebe, he was a member of his Pietermaritzburg Choral Society Choir, where he soon gained experience as a soloist. He has since sung with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in various concerts. His repertoire includes Mozart arias, the role of Simone in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and appearing in West Side Story in collaboration with SMU company.

He has also sung the bass roles in Handel’s Messiah, Rossini’s Sollenele Mass and Hayden’s Missa Caeciliae Sanctate.

Recent performances include the role of Sarastro in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Emile in South Pacific in collaboration with the SMU company under Professor Barbara Hillmoore.

Mkhize completed his diploma in music and performance in 2011 and his Bachelor of Practical Music in 2012 at Howard College, UKZN.

Born in Kimberley, he attended St Boniface High School where he started to sing choral music at the age of 14. In 2005, he sang in a trio for his school in the Tirisano Schools Eisteddfod Competition. They won first position at the national level and he was chosen to be a member of the Tirisano National Youth Choir.

In 2008, he was a soloist in the Sowetan Massed Choir Festival, held in Kimberley under the baton of Mokale Koapeng and Ludumo Magangane; sang the role of Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni in 2009; and a year later performed with the KZN Philharmonic, singing the role of Alfredo from Verdi’s La Traviata.

Most recently, Mkhize toured with the Cler­mont Community Choir and the KZNPO in France. He performed in Paris on July 18, as part of the South Africa France Season 2012/2013.

The annual performances of Handel’s Messiah in Pietermaritzburg have been attended by capacity audiences and reading Mary Anne Hartley’s review in The Witness, it’s easy to see why.

She writes: “Messiah has always been about shared communal experience and tradition. This conductor, soloists, choir and orchestra have an understanding of what an involvement in music can do for people. It enriches us and unites us for those few hours reminding us of our humanity.”

Tickets for this year’s concert are R90 from 033 347 5464 or they can be bought at the door. It is advisable to book early as there are only 350 seats at the Seth Mokitini Chapel. Please take cushions. Tea and scones will be available at interval for R10.

WHILE writing the Messiah, Handel rarely left his room and hardly ate.

On the 24th day, when his servant delivered his meal, Handel turned to him, tears streaming down his face and cried out: “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God himself.”

He had just finished writing the triumphant music of the Hallelujah Chorus.

In 1756, the first reference to the custom of standing for the Hallelujah Chorus appeared in a letter and this tradition has been followed for 250 years since then until this day.

— Supplied.

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