Tickets for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's performance of Messiah on Easter weekend were gone less than ten minutes after they became available last week. But the choir has decided to make the performance available to a worldwide audience on the internet.
While the Tabernacle Choir has recorded George Friederich Handel's oratorio a couple of times, it's never done a public performance of Messiah in its entirety.
Preparing for the concert has been a challenge for choir director Mack Wilberg, who says he's had to adapt it for a much larger scale than its first performance in 1742.
"When you have 360 voices," Wilberg tells KUER, "you have to have an orchestra much larger than a Baroque orchestra, which would be anywhere from 20 to 25 players. So that's where the challenge has come in, and so I've had to through every vocal part and every instrumental part to determine who is playing what at a particular time."
The soloists include soprano Kiera Duffy, tenor Brian Stucki, mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford and bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen. Including all the arias and recitatives, the performance will last 2-1/2 hours.
"Messiah is in 3 parts," says Wilberg. "And so we will be taking a little, a short interval between each part. And I think that, actually, our approach to this will be a fast-moving Messiah."
The performances are set for Friday and Saturday, April 18th and 19th. In addition to the live performance in the Tabernacle, the concert will be simulcast to the Little Theater at the Conference Center. Tickets for that are available at the lds.org/events website. Tickets for another simulcast at the Legacy Theater in the Joseph Smith building will be available through the choir's website, and the live stream will also be available through mormontabernaclechoir.org and on the choir's YouTube channel.