Spokeswoman Diana Wren said: “This year musical director, conductor, composer Tom Neal has discovered a version of the Easter Passion of Christ, written by that favourite of oratorio composers, Handel. Because the Bach Passions are so frequently performed at Easter, this beautiful work has been somewhat overlooked. However, it has now been published in a new edition, researched by internationally-known tenor soloist and musicologist, Neil Jenkins.
“Choir members are very excited that Neil Jenkins himself will sing the lead role of the Evangelist in their performance of this work on Sunday, March 18.
“The music is completely new to all the members of the choir, but because they are familiar with Handel’s style from singing the ever-popular Messiah, they are enjoying rehearsing music which while quite new to them seems strangely familiar. For this special occasion the choir will be accompanied by the Chichester-based early music group, the Consort of Twelve.
“They are an ensemble of musicians from Hampshire and Sussex who specialise in the performance of Baroque music using the styles, techniques and instruments of the 17th and 18th centuries. They too are thrilled to be taking part in this performance of the Handel Passion. Neil Jenkins as the Evangelist will narrate the story of the Passion of Christ. The story is dramatically re-enacted by the choir who act as the chorus of citizens of Jerusalem and by six brilliant young soloists from the Royal College of Music who will take on the roles of the leading actors in this account of Christ’s crucifixion.”
Handel’s Passion of Christ will be performed as part of the Havant Music Festival on Sunday, March 18 at 7.30pm. at Emsworth Baptist Church.
Tickets are available from The Spring Arts Centre, Havant or online from ticketsource.co.uk. Portsmouth Festival Choir always welcomes new singers. Contact Hilary Munro on 02392 470532) for details.