When Adam announced that he was buying tickets for us to take the kids to a performance of Handel’s Messiah at the Sydney Opera House the day after our Christmas party I was a little unsure of the wisdom of such an endeavour. At breakfast this morning, which we were eating at midday on account of Adam and I having gone to bed at 4am, Tom very nearly confirmed all my fears by greeting the news that we were off to the city with a massive attack of the grumps, but after I threatened dire consequences for bad behaviour and Adam promised mango smoothies as a reward for being cooperative he pulled his head in and stopped whinging.
What we went to see was not a full performance of Messiah, instead it was this:
From the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs website:
Beginner’s Guide to MessiahSUNDAY 13 DECEMBER, 2pm
On Sunday the 13th of December at 2.00pm, we invite you and your whole family to The Beginner’s Guide to Messiah with an entertaining and informational performance of Messiah excerpts. Our Artistic Director Brett Weymark will guide you through the inspiration to the music with insights into the great master, Handel.
It was fantastic! After the overture Tom leaned over to whisper in my ear “This is actually really good, I’m glad you brought us.” Brett Weymark, the conductor, did a fabulous job talking about Handel and the music, covering the history of the work and its performances during Handel’s life, anecdotes about Handel written by people who had met him, and discussion of the music itself. I think my favourite bit was Brett telling us to listen to the violins to hear how fast the angel’s wings were flapping during the bit where they visit the shepherds. It had just the right touch of humour to make it accessible to the kids and at 1.5 hours wasn’t too long. The kids would never have lasted through the 3 hours of a full performance of Messiah and I’m not sure I would have either!
The Harbour Bridge as seen from the Opera House forecourt.
Inside the Concert Hall with the orchestra and 300-odd choristers.
My lovely family waiting for the show to start, on one side of me Tom, Adam and David
and on the other side, Caitlin.