After the premiere of Handel’s Messiah in Dublin in 1742 and its London debut at Covent Garden the following year, the work became increasingly popular and was heard in festivals and cathedrals around the country. After Handel’s death in 1759, performances were given in Florence (1768), New York (1770), Hamburg (1772) and Mannheim (1777) where Mozart first heard it.
In Vienna the sweeping reforms of Emperor Joseph II to modernise the Catholic church, saw the decline of church music which led to an increase in the number of private performances. Baron Gottfried van Swieten, patron of the arts, founded the Society of Associates with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as director. Fearing the demise of Baroque music in favour of the newer Classical style, van Swieten commissioned Mozart to modernise Handel’s Messiah by filling out the orchestration.
The Mozart arrangement of Messiah will be performed in the Wellington Town Hall on Sunday, 2 June 2013 at 3.30pm with Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir and Orchestra Wellington (formally the VWO) conducted by Tecwyn Evans. The soloists are Morag Atchison soprano, Bianca Andrew alto, Henry Choo tenor and James Clayton bass.
Tickets are available through Orchestra Wellington subscription bookings and are now on general release through Ticketek - http://premier.ticketek.co.nz/shows/Show.aspx?sh=HANDELSM13