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Special Event - Christmas
Rome, Christmas at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia with Handel's Messiah, directed by John Nelson
The great American conductor returns to the Cecilian podium where he had been missing for almost thirty years
Organized by: National Academy of Santa Cecilia Foundation

National Academy of Santa Cecilia Foundation Presenta

“ Concert Season 2023 -24 ”
TO Rome L'National Academy of Santa Cecilia celebrate Christmas with one of the greatest masterpieces of Western sacred music, the Messiah of Georg Friedrich Handel, scheduled for 20, 21 and 22 December 2023 to the Ennio Music Park Morricone.

On this occasion, after 29 years of absence, the eighty-two-year-old American director returns to the podium of the historic Roman institution John Nelson, for five decades a guest of the most prestigious orchestras and major halls around the world; reference interpreter for Hector Berlioz's compositions, his recording of Les troyens has recently been awarded important awards, fromAward for Opera of the BBC Music Magazine, to that of Recording of the year of the Gramophone magazine e Record of the decade of the Sunday Times.

The release of the album dates back to a few weeks ago Messiah that Nelson conducted in November 2022 in Coventry Cathedral, in the heart of England: “A life dedicated to the performance of Messiah it gave me enough courage to record this extraordinarily famous music. With the collaboration of the best musicians and soloists in the world – commented the director – I am finally ready to leave my personal interpretation for posterity”.

Interpretation that John Nelson will now propose again at the helm ofOrchestra and Choir of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, the latter instructed by Andrew Dry, and with lead vocals by Sara Blanch (soprano), Sasha Cooke (alto), Krystian Adam (tenor) e Anthony Robin Schneider (low).

The Messiah of Georg Friedrich Händel, Oratorio in three parts for solos, choir and orchestra, is one of the most famous and loved sacred compositions in the entire history of music. Written in English libretto by Charles Jennens with texts taken from the King James Bible, the first version authorized by the Anglican church in 1611, and from the version of the Psalms included in the Book of Common Prayers, the Messiah it was completed in just three weeks between August and September 1741, while the first performance took place in Dublin in April 1742, enjoying triumphant success.

The Oratory is divided into three parts, the first dedicated to Advent, the second to the Crucifixion and Resurrection, the third to the prefiguration of Christ's return at the end of time. As was the custom of the time, the music was partially taken from previous pieces, including some Italian cantatas, and is characterized by a more sober vocal style compared to the singing of the Italian virtuosos, with a few recitatives, numerous arias all of extraordinary expressive variety entrusted to the solo voices, and powerful choral interventions, such as the famous choir Hallelujah which closes the second part of the oratory. Having finished the work, the composer is said to have exclaimed “I thought I saw all the heavens before me, and the great God himself sitting on the throne, with his company of angels”. The Messiah it is still among the most appreciated compositions in Great Britain today and Handel is one of the most loved composers, so much so that the famous writer and playwright George Bernard Shaw stated: "For the English, Handel is not just a composer, he is an institution. More: it is a sacred institution".

(John Nelson, photo credit Marco Borggreve; below, Gheritt van Hontorst known as Gherardo delle Notti, Adoration of the Child, Uffizi Gallery, Florence)
Rome, Christmas at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia with Handel's Messiah, directed by John Nelson


Orchestra and Chorus of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia

director John Nelson

soprano Sara Blanch 
mezzo soprano Sasha Cooke
tenor Krystian Adam
bass Anthony Robin Schneider

choir master Andrea Secchi


Georg Friedrich Händel

Messiah, HWV 56
Oratorio in three parts for solos, choir and orchestra 


November 20, 2023 at 7.30 pm
November 21, 2023 at 7.30 pm
November 22, 2023 at 8.30 pm

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