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The unknown story behind Handel’s world premiere of ‘The Messiah’ in Dublin


26-10-2015 09:45

In Hallelujah, Jonathan Bardon, one of Ireland’s most esteemed historians, explores the remarkable circumstances surrounding the first performance of Handel’s iconic oratorio in Dublin in 1742.

 

Many people will not be aware the world’s most popular piece of classical music was in fact first performed in Dublin. Fewer still will be aware of the dramatic circumstances that placed Dublin at the centre of one of musical history’s most seminal moments; the performance brought about by a charity seeking an innovative way to raise funds for starving citizens falling victim to the combined forces of a harsh winter and severe famine.

 

Here the author focuses on a single event but from that manages to weave a panoramic picture of the history, politics, culture and everyday life of Dubliners during this little written about period in Irish history, successfully bringing to life one of the greatest pieces of music ever written and the fascinating, unforgettable cast of characters who were to the fore of this real-life drama.

 

There’s Handel himself, a somewhat hot-headed loner, Jonathan Swift, slowly losing grip of his sanity and almost preventing the performance from going ahead, the dazzling singer Susannah Cibber, a Prima Donna escaping a notorious scandal in London, and the vibrant cast of skilled artisans who populated the Liberties where most of the action takes place, many of whom were hovering on the brink of starvation.

 

Hallelujah is the story of how one performance changed the course of musical history and wove itself into the fabric of Ireland’s capital.

 

Hallelujah: The story of a musical genius and the city that brought his masterpiece to life will be published by Gill Books on Friday, 30 October, priced at €24.99/£22.99.

For further information please contact Teresa Daly, Communications Manager, Gill Books, 01 500 9521, 086 838 3559, tdaly@gill.ie.



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