Royal Choral Society returns to the Royal Albert Hall for Handel’s Messiah

28 May 2021, 17:53

Royal Choral Society returns to the Royal Albert Hall for Handel’s Messiah this May.
Royal Choral Society returns to the Royal Albert Hall for Handel’s Messiah this May. Picture: Kevin Day

As live concerts are returning, join star soloists Mary Bevan, Marta Fontanals-Simmons, Benjamin Hulett and Edward Grint in Handel’s choral masterpiece in one of London’s most iconic venues.

The Royal Choral Society has announced its return to the Royal Albert Hall for Handel’s Messiah.

On Sunday 30 May, amid live music retuning and venues opening up, the choir will be joined by soprano Mary Bevan, mezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons, tenor Benjamin Hulett, bass Edward Grint and organist Richard Pearce for a spectacular performance of Handel’s choral masterpiece – conducted by Richard Cooke.

The Royal Choral Society will be one of the first symphonic choirs performing live after lockdown in the UK, and its Messiah performance marks an important milestone for the society as well as for the Royal Albert Hall: the choir was formed for the opening of the Royal Albert Hall in 1871, exactly 150 years ago, and is delighted to be able to kick off the Hall’s 150th celebrations.

Read more: 15 iconic classical music moments in 150 years of the Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Choral Society usually performs Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall every Good Friday, an Easter tradition dating from 1876.
The Royal Choral Society usually performs Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall every Good Friday, an Easter tradition dating from 1876. Picture: Kevin Day

The Royal Choral Society usually performs Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall every Good Friday, an Easter tradition dating from 1876. However, the coronavirus pandemic kept the singers off the stage on Good Fridays in both 2020 and 2021 – although they did perform an ‘isolated’ version of the Hallelujah Chorus in 2020 – and the 30 May performance will be only the second concert that the choir has been able to undertake together since Christmas Eve 2019. So this return to live music will be very special – for performers and audience alike.

In order to comply with government Covid guidelines, this will be a socially-distanced event with reduced capacity, with singers and audience socially distanced. Audience numbers are restricted to just 800, so do book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

Social distancing means that the concert will be performed with organ accompaniment rather than full orchestra. The choir will be accompanied by Richard Pearce on the mighty Royal Albert Hall organ, and joined by a quartet of superb soloists – all under the baton of Richard Cooke.

The Royal Choral Society performs Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall at 2.30pm BST on Sunday 30 May. Tickets cost £40 and can be purchased here on the Royal Albert Hall website.