One of the best pieces of music every written, when King George II heard the famous “Hallelujah” chorus during the London premiere of the Messiah, he was so moved that he stood and of course, everyone else in the theatre followed suit. The team from Immersive Everywhere intend to have a similar effect on the audience with their new venture Classical Everywhere which debuts on December 6th at Theatre Royal Drury Lane with Handel’s Messiah: The Live Experience. Designed specifically to appeal to both lovers of classical music and those who are new to the artform, Classical Everywhere’s vision is to bring together the world’s greatest classical musicians and music with outstanding venues and creative and imaginative staging. The aim is to enhance the narrative and emotional power of the music to create an evocative, exhilarating, and entertaining classical experience that will appeal to ever wider audiences.
The combination of world-class musicians with innovative and imaginative lighting design, visual effects, choreography and staging promises to immerse audiences in a powerful and theatrical new setting for Handel’s masterpiece which narrates in three parts the story of Christ. The first part is drawn from the Old Testament prophesies of the Messiah’s birth; the second from the New Testament stories of the birth of Christ, his death, and his resurrection; and the last one relates to Judgment Day, with the final chorus text drawn from the Book of Revelation.
A snapshot render of one of the animated projections that will form the backdrop of Handel’s Messiah The Live Experience. © Flora Fauna Vision.
With its universal human themes of birth, hope, joy, suffering, sacrifice and redemption this musical biopic has captivated audiences for centuries. It is no surprise that Immersive Everywhere chose it to kick start the Classical Everywhere programme. Actually, Handel’s Messiah is the most chosen piece of music ever on Desert Island Discs.
The stars bringing The Messiah to live are:
Danielle de Niese, who has been hailed as “opera’s coolest soprano” by New York Times Magazine. Danielle regularly appears on the world’s most prestigious opera and concert stages and is a prolific recording artist, TV personality and philanthropist. The famous soprano shared her excitement about this ground-breaking approach to classical music, “I am thrilled to be taking part in this visionary performance of Handel’s Messiah that will break new ground with its imaginative approach. I have always endeavoured to take classical music to new and unusual venues as well as newer and younger audiences.”
Winner of the BBC Musician Magazine Personality of the Year 2022, tenor Nicky Spence who will be known to audiences as a judge and mentor on Sky Arts’ TV show Anyone can sing and lead presenter in Sky’s upcoming TV documentary Football Fan to Opera Star.
English National Opera regular and “creamy-toned high soprano” (The Arts Desk) Idunnu Münch and American bass-baritone Cody Quattlebaum, commended by Opera News as “a powerhouse, commanding of presence, virile of sound, and articulate even in the swiftest exchanges” make up the quartet
From the left: Soprano Danielle de Niese, tenor Nicky Spence, high soprano Idunnu Münch and bass-baritone Cody Quattlebaum.
Under the baton of conductor Gregory Batsleer, Artistic Director and founding member of Classical Everywhere, these impressive internationally acclaimed artists will perform alongside the English Chamber Orchestra and London Symphony Chorus. Batsleer commented: “We are taking classical music back to the masses and ensuring that everyone who loves music can come and have an extraordinary night out with the best-quality music making. Audiences who might think classical concerts are dull or stuffy will have these ideas changed forever.”
The creative team includes Director, Neil Connolly (Tomb Raider Live Experience, The Crystal Maze Live Experience, Lamplighters, Heist: live); Co-Concept & Multimedia Creation by international design studio flora&faunavisions GmbH (Genius Immersive Experience, Berlin & Tokyo; Wagner´s Ring Cycle, Australia; Solomun Coachella Tour); Choreography by Tom Jackson Greaves (Whistle Down the Wind, Watermill), Lighting Design by Terry Cook for Woodroffe-Bassett Design (Peaky Blinders: The Rise; Rolling Stones Tour; Elton John Tour and Expo 2020, Dubai); and Sound Design by Andy Graham (The Book Thief, Bolton Octagon).
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane is the most recent in a line of four theatres which were built at the same location, the earliest of which dated back to 1663.
The original Theatre Royal, Drury Lane – one of London’s oldest and most prominent theatres – was well known to Handel in the 1700s and his music remained popular there right up to the 1900s, with almost annual performances of Messiah. These would have been as popular with audiences then as the big West End productions playing there are now. By choosing this stunning setting, recently lovingly restored by LW Theatres, Classical Everywhere brings Handel’s great work back to its roots, reclaiming it from the classical concert hall for the wider public once again.
Handel’s Messiah: The Live Experience
6th December 2022, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, 7.30 pm
Running time: Approximately 2 hours (including a 20-minute interval)
Further information and tickets HERE.