Handel’s Messiah to be on BBC Two, Saturday 3 April

30th March 2021 in News

ENO and BBC Two’s specially-created concert of Handel’s Messiah will be exclusively broadcast on Saturday 3 April at 18.00.

The hour-long performance of Handel’s much-loved masterpiece has been imaginatively staged at the London Coliseum, and filmed specifically for a television audience. With no live audience present, the performance is brought to life by the creative teams of the English National Opera, and performed by guest soloists and the ENO Chorus and Orchestra, making imaginative use of the stunning auditorium at the London Coliseum. It will be presented by saxophonist and broadcaster YolanDa Brown and broadcaster Petroc Trelawny.

Featuring some of Handel’s best-known music – including the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus – Messiah tells the story of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. Composed in 1741, and premiered at Easter 1742, the piece speaks to the holiday’s celebration of hope and new beginnings.

We return to the custom of performances in Handel’s lifetime, using a broader spectrum of solo voices than the usual four, featuring instead a bigger cast of eight outstanding soloists. Established, celebrated stars of the operatic world such as mezzo-soprano Christine Rice and countertenor Iestyn Davies, join the exciting new talents of current and former ENO Harewood Artists (sopranos Nadine Benjamin and Nardus Williams, tenors Anthony Gregory and John Findon, baritone Benson Wilson and bass William Thomas) to perform this popular piece.

Handel’s Messiah follows the success of ENO’s recent partnership with the BBC to bring audiences at home an acclaimed performance of Mozart’s Requiem, broadcast on BBC Two in November 2020. Singers, Chorus and Orchestra are socially distanced across the stage and auditorium and were filmed in strict compliance with all relevant health and safety guidelines.

Handel’s Messiah will broadcast Saturday 3 April, 18.00, and will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer afterwards.