Sydney’s innovative vocal ensemble The Song Company is bringing a “living room”  Messiahto Melbourne Digital Concert Hall in December. In this performance of Part I, featuring 12 singers and a small band of instrumentalists from Bach Akademie Australia, people around the country will be able to enjoy the oratorio from the comfort of their homes – and even join in if they like. Artistic Director Antony Pitts spoke to  Limelightabout the concert, and how intimate, small-scale performances of Messiah were his introduction to the beloved oratorio.

Why do you think Handel’s  Messiah has become an annual tradition for so many?

Even during Handel’s lifetime there were annual performances for the benefit of London’s Foundling Hospital, and the tradition has built – particularly during the 19th into the 20th centuries – on the momentum of the oratorio’s familiarity, such that both the Christmas and Easter seasons are liable to trigger a yearning to hear and/or sing some of the wonderful melodies and choruses of  Messiah. This is all despite the fact that it tells what could be a very direct story mostly in a prophetically allusive and non-dramatic manner. The main exceptions to that are the appearance of the angels to the shepherds in the fields...