Romance in G major Opus 26 Johann Svendsen
Tom Morris, Artistic Director of the Bristol Old Vic, brings the Bristol Proms to a close with a stunning part-staging of Handel's Messiah.
On the final night of the Bristol Proms, the Bristol Old Vic stage was handed over to its creative director, Tom Morris.
Morris presented a part-staging of Handel's Messiah.
Morris, more familiar with theatre, admitted the process of staging one of Handel's most celebrated works was "absolutely terrifying".
Morris was keen to bring the Messiah back to Bristol Old Vic having last been performed there in 1782.
More familiar with theatre productions, Bristol Old Vic had originally played host to countless musical performances.
The theatre's acoustics were originally designed for musical performances as well as theatrical performances.
Tom Morris described Handel as a "dramatist", and told Classic FM he was keen to explore the more theatrical themes of the Messiah.
Heaping praise on Handel, Morris described him as "by for most musical dramatist of his age".
Morris's interest in the play, and the composer, was also piqued on finding out that Handel had originally chosen an actress - rather than a trained singer - to perform the alto role.
Through a series of 'surprisingly emotional' rehearsals, Morris was keen to explore the Messiah's theme of "what it might feel like to recover from grief through belief".
In front of a sold-out crowd at Bristol Old Vic, the Messiah provided a fitting finale to the inaugural Bristol Proms.
Southbank Sinfonia and The Erebus Ensemble were drafted by Morris for the production.
Simon Over conducted and also helped Tom Morris realise his ambition of getting Handel's Messiah back on to the Bristol Old Vic stage.
As per the other concerts in the Bristol Proms, a standing area allowed people to get closer to the performance.
The standing area, says Morris, is another nod to the theatre's history, where seating was removed to cram more people in.
The Bristol Proms also echoed the popularity of 'Promenade Concerts' which were very popular at the Bristol Old Vic in the 19th Century.
To thunderous applause, the curtain came down on Handel's Messiah and the first Bristol Proms.
When asked by Classic FM whether there'd be a Bristol Proms next year, Morris admitted they were already thinking about artists... watch this space.