Since so much of the world is in lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, Auckland Choral have decided to share the documentary ‘100 Hallelujahs’ and make it freely available to watch on You Tube (click the play button on the video below). The one-hour documentary was professionally made in 2018 to mark the choir’s 100th consecutive annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah”, and was released on TV the following year.
The choir’s Messiah Christmas tradition for Auckland audiences dates back to 1855, in fact, and the tally of performances of this much-loved oratorio is well over 100. Only twice in its history has Auckland Choral not taken to the stage for its annual performance: at the outbreak of World War I, and during the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, when public performances were banned. The 1919 performance must been especially celebratory, after four long years of war and a pandemic.
In their 2018 performance, Auckland Choral were joined by visiting singers from Brisbane Chorale, City Choir Dunedin and alumni of Auckland Choral, along with singers from the University of Auckland Chamber Choir. Forming an outstanding line-up of soloists were New Zealanders Marlena Devoe (soprano), Simon O’Neill (tenor) and Martin Snell (bass), with Australian mezzo-soprano Deborah Humble, and Handel’s orchestral score was brought to life by Pipers Sinfonia under the baton of Auckland Choral’s Music Director Uwe Grodd.
Our friends at Auckland Choral say: “We welcome the idea that it could be forwarded to friends and family around the world and hope that we might contribute by lifting spirits across the globe! A lofty vision but it’s our little offering…”