Venue switch due to revamp saves festive music highlight
SWANSEA'S Christmas performance of Handel's Messiah has been saved.
Swansea Philharmonic Choir, Swansea Bach Choir and Gower Chorale usually take it in turn to sing it at the Brangwyn Hall every December.
Last year it was in the hands of the Chamber Orchestra of Wales and Chorale, together with four soloists.
It is seen in musical quarters as traditionally the gateway to Christmas.
But there were fears that those gates would be firmly locked this year with the closure of the Brangwyn Hall.
An extensive refurbishment programme means it will not reopen until next summer. Now, though, Swansea-based chamber group Inspiritu will sing it at All Saints Church, Oystermouth, on December 13, accompanied by Apollo String Quartet from Cardiff's Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Also on stage will be soloists Daniel Rudge, from the Glyndebourne Chorus, and Frances Gregory, Olivia Gomez and Tom Smith, all of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
The switch to Oystermouth was prompted by the intervention of Inspiritu conductor James Davies, who was determined the show would go on.
"It is the highlight of some people's Christmas," he said. "I have grown up with Handel's Messiah. People were very disappointed that it was not going to happen this year. It makes a lot of people's Christmas.
"Inspiritu took a gift from the Lord Mayor of Swansea when we sang in Cork last Easter, so this will be putting something back into the city."
And Mr Davies is also delighted with the venue.
"All Saints is a wonderful building, and a wonderful setting for the Messiah."
The Oratorio was first performed in 1742 and has featured in the repertoire of choirs all over the UK ever since, particularly at Christmas.
"Christmas wouldn't have been the same in the town without Handel's Messiah," said Inspiritu member Sid Kidwell.