Regarded by many as an essential part of the Christmas cultural scene, George Frederick Handel‘s Messiah is regularly performed across the world at this time of year. In Barcelona this week, there are two separate opportunities to enjoy this classic choral favourite that covers the entire life of Jesus.
On 13 December, the Modernista Palau de la Música concert hall welcomes award-winning violinist Daniel Hope as he conducts the Zurich Chamber Orchestra alongside the Palau’s own Chamber Choir in a performance of the popular oratorio.
Meanwhile the Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar, another architectural star of the city albeit in a very different style, is the setting for two consecutive evening performances of the 18th-century work by the Catalonia Youth Philharmonic Orchestra and the Barcelona-based Atlàntida Choir.
The Messiah debuted in Dublin in April 1742 and the premiere was organised by Handel as an event to raise money for three charities: prisoners’ debt relief, Mercer’s Hospital and the Charitable Infirmary.
Seven hundred people were in the audience that day, and to ensure the largest possible number could be admitted, men were asked to remove their swords while women were requested not to wear hoops in their skirts.
Palau de la Música Catalana: 13 December, 8pm; €20-€100. palaumusica.cat
Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar: 13-14 December, 9pm; €25. concertsabarcelona.com