Project information

Handel's Messiah

In collaboration with Tom Morris and Bristol Old Vic, The English Concert plans to bring a new staging of Handel’s iconic Messiah to audiences in London and the UK. Written for the best operatic voices of the time, The English Concert restores the dramatic experience of Handel's iconic work.

November 2017 - November 2017

Charity information

The English Concert

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  • Need


    The strong tradition of touring opera and large-scale works in the UK is under threat. Orchestras are forced to consider smaller instrumental projects instead as there is insufficient funding to mount such costly performances, denying ensembles and audiences the chance to explore this field. This project would seek to restore the dramatic context within which Handel’s music was considered by his contemporaries, lost largely through changes in taste and performance traditions over the centuries.


    The dramatization of Handel’s Messiah will offer modern audiences a fresh and profound manner of engaging with an important work in the history of music and contribute a new entry into the operatic repertoire. By bringing this production to London and to the rest of the UK we will not only resist the decline of touring opera in the UK, but demonstrate that it is a worthy cause which is relevant to audiences country-wide.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Present an outstanding staged performance of Handel’s Messiah


    » bring the successful staging of Handel’s Messiah to London audiences and those in the rest of the country

    We will demonstrate success by monitoring audience attendance and feedback from musicians, guest artists, promoters, audiences and the press.

    Aim 2

    Showcase one of the world’s leading chamber orchestras, soloists and directors


    » see Aim 1

    We will demonstrate success by monitoring audience attendance and feedback from musicians, guest artists, promoters, audiences and the press.

    Aim 3

    Bring to life Handel’s dramatic concept of Messiah


    » see Aim 1

    We will demonstrate success by monitoring audience attendance and feedback from musicians, guest artists, promoters, audiences and the press.

    Aim 4

    To expand the baroque operatic repertoire, creating a precedent for similar dramatizations


    » see Aim 1

    Through future bookings, collaborations and repeat performances

  • Impact


    While well established as a musical work, we will offer a new entry into the operatic repertoire and form a basis for staging similar works such as Bach’s B minor mass. By firmly proving that touring large-scale repertoire is still possible, this project will create a viable template for continued cooperation between TEC, major concert halls and festivals. The project will help to reverse the decline of opera touring and provide an inspiring creative opportunity for audiences in the UK.


    The English Concert’s position as a leader in its field brings with it vast experience dealing with last-minute changes, problems and cancelations. Withdrawals by soloists and key musicians is a common occurrence, but TEC is well placed to source quality replacements quickly and efficiently. Apart from the obvious risk of failing to raise sufficient funds to cover the projected deficit between tour income and costs, there are no other significant risks.


    Supporters will be invited to performances and rehearsals, and will receive regular e-reports as the project unfolds. We will use our website and social media presence to both increase the number of supporters and keep them closely involved.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £30,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £3,500 Director fee contribution towards artistic director fees
      £18,250 Musician fees contribution towards the rehearsal and concert costs of the orchestral musicians
      £1,750 Instrument hire contribution towards hiring keyboard instruments
      £6,500 Soloist fees contribution towards soloist fees
  • Background


    Up to 4 performances will take place across London, in venues more closely related with other arts forms such as the Hackney Empire, followed by up to 3 additional performances outside of London.


    Audiences in the UK who might not otherwise have the opportunity to see a work of this kind. The musicians of The English Concert, the soloists, and the orchestra’s supporters whose inspiration to support us will be replenished.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The English Concert is among the finest baroque orchestras in the world. Established by Trevor Pinnock in 1973, it has vast expertise across a wide repertoire which it bestows on new generations of musicians and audiences alike, refreshing its own creative springs at the same time. Under the inspired artistic direction of Harry Bicket, TEC has never been in better shape. Indeed, under Bicket’s leadership, the orchestra has carved an acclaimed specialism in the performance of Handel’s operas.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Harry Bicket

    Artistic Director and conductor. Renowned conductor Harry Bicket is much in demand by orchestras and opera houses across the world

    Tom Morris

    Stage director. Tom Morris is Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic, and most known for his work on War Horse.

    World-Class Soloists

    A cast of 4 world-class soloists (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) will be performing this much-loved work.