Handel's Messiah

Sat 20 Apr 2019, 7.30PM
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Handel Messiah

Gregory Batsleer Chorus Director
Miah Persson Soprano
Iestyn Davies Countertenor
Thomas Walker Tenor
Ashley Riches Baritone
RSNO Chorus  

When King George II first heard Handel’s Messiah, he leapt to his feet in excitement. We don’t expect you to do that – but we’re sure you’ll recognise the tunes anyway. From Ev’ry Valley to the Hallelujah chorus itself, this is quite simply some of the most uplifting music ever written. With the RSNO Chorus conducted by its Director Gregory Batsleer and featuring a team of star singers, enjoy all the freshness, inspiration and joy of a truly timeless classic this Easter.


£38.50, £29.50, £19


Under 16s free (max 2 per paying adult); Under 26s / Mature Students / Unemployed £6; Disabled patrons and their carers 50% off; Group discounts available

Box Office

0141 353 8000

Featured Artists

Gregory Batsleer

Gregory Batsleer Chorus Director

Gregory Batsleer is widely regarded as one of the most charismatic and innovative choral conductors of his generation.

He has held the position of Chorus Director with the RSNO since 2015, and has in that time overseen an improvement in the overall standard of the RSNO Chorus as well as a rise in the RSNO’s choral activity. This has included the inauguration of the RSNO Chorus Academy, Singing Days, and the establishment of regular Come and Sing events with the Orchestra.

Since 2009, Gregory has also held the position of Chorus Director with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and last season started the newly created post of Choral Director of the Huddersfield Choral Society, where he is responsible for overseeing the Society’s artistic development. In summer 2017, Gregory co-founded Festival Voices, a professional vocal ensemble specialising in cross-discipline collaboration and performance.

As a guest conductor, highlights include performances with the RSNO, Hallé, Academy of Ancient Music, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Aurora Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North, Royal Northern College of Music Symphony Orchestra, Black Dyke Band, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. This spring, Gregory conducts a UK-wide, fully staged production of Bernstein’s West Side Story.

Gregory has been guest chorus master for many orchestras, including the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Houston Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic, working with leading conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner, Sir Andrew Davis, Louis Langrée, Sir Roger Norrington, Robin Ticciati, Emmanuel Krivine and Phillipe Herreweghe.

He is deeply committed to his work as a collaborator and curator. Recent projects include work with artists including Elbow, James, Tim Burgess, Damon Albarn and Clean Bandit. In 2015 he was musical consultant on Nick Drake’s play All the Angels: Handel and the First Messiah at London’s Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. He has a close working relationship with composer Joe Duddell, and has premiered works by composers including James Burton, David Lang, Colin Metters, Uri Caine and Ben Parry. Last summer Gregory co-curated sell-out cross-art performances at London’s Southbank Centre, Latitude festival, and Wilderness festival, all featuring his new vocal ensemble Festival Voices.

Previous posts include Director of Hallé Youth Choir (2008–11), Director of Choirs at Manchester University (2009–13), and Artistic Director of the National Portrait Gallery’s choir-in-residence programme in London and the Portrait Choir (2013–17), which recently released a choral audio guide to the Gallery. Gregory currently teaches choral conducting at the University of Edinburgh and has worked as guest conductor with the University’s Chamber Orchestra and Choir.

Between 2007 and 2012, Gregory held scholarships at Princeton University, New Jersey, and London’s Royal College of Music. His outstanding work as a choral conductor was recognised with the Arts Foundation’s first ever Fellowship in Choral Conducting in 2015.

Miah  Persson

Miah Persson Soprano

Internationally-renowned Swedish soprano Miah Persson has worked all over the world as concert artist and recitalist, as well as on the operatic stage.

Throughout her distinguished career Miah has performed Fiordiligi Cosi fan tutte, Gretel Hansel und Gretel and Pamina Die Zauberflöte at the Metropolitan Opera; Susanna Le Nozze di Figaro at the Royal Opera House; title role L’Incoronazione di Poppea and Governess Turn of the Screw at Teatro alla Scala; Fiordiligi, Sophie and Susanna at the Wiener Staatsoper; Governess The Turn of the Screw, Fiordiligi, Donna Elvira and Anne Trulove The Rake’s Progress at the Glyndebourne Festival; Donna Elvira at the Theatre Champs Elysees and the Liceu Barcelona; Fiordiligi at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Hamburgische Staatsoper, New National Theatre Tokyo, Bayerische Staatsoper, in Stockholm and for a Deutsche Grammophon recording at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden; L’Incoronazione di Poppea at Carnegie Hall; and Michel van der Aa’s Blank Out, a chamber opera for solo soprano, for Netherlands Opera with performances in Amsterdam, Rome and New York.

Miah’s solo recordings include ‘Soul & Landscape’ with Roger Vignoles (Hyperion), ‘Mozart: Un moto di gioia: Opera and Concert Arias’ (BIS) with Sebastian Weigle conducting the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, and ‘Portraits – songs by Clara and Robert Schumann’ (BIS) with pianist Joseph Breinl.

Iestyn  Davies

Iestyn Davies Countertenor

After graduating in Archaeology and Anthropology from St John’s College, Cambridge Iestyn Davies studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London. Last season he delighted London theatre audiences singing the role of Farinelli in the play, Farinelli and the King with Mark Rylance in the West End’s Duke of York Theatre and was nominated for an Olivier Award. The project transfers to Broadway in 17/18. In 2016 he made his debut at the Salzburg Festival in Thomas Adés’ The Exterminating Angel and in 2016/17 he returned to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for George Benjamin’s Written on Skin and The Exterminating Angel. He is a regular guest at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera where his roles have included the title role Rinaldo, Ottone (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and David (Saul) “Iestyn Davies’ eloquent David is career-defining” Opera Now, September 2016. Elsewhere in Europe he has sung Apollo (Death in Venice) in his house debut at Teatro alla Scala, Milan; Ottone for Zürich Opera; Hamor (Jeptha) for Welsh National Opera and Opera National de Bordeaux; Written on Skin at Opéra Comique and the Munich and Vienna Festivals. His roles at the English National Opera include Oberon, Apollo, Bertardio (Rodelinda).

He is a regular performer at the Metropolitan Opera Company where he has sung Oberon, Unulfo (Rodelinda), Trinculo (The Tempest). He returns this season for The Exterminating Angel. Other U.S appearances include Arsace (Partenope) for New York City Opera, Oberon for Houston Grand Opera and Rinaldo for the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Concert engagements include performances at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan with Dudamel, the Concertgebouw with Bolton and the Tonhalle with Koopman at the Barbican, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Lincoln Centre and at the BBC Proms with orchestras that include the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Cleveland Symphony, London Philharmonic, Britten Sinfonia, Concerto Köln, Concerto Copenhagen, Ensemble Matheus, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of Ancient Music and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. A distinguished, he recently made his debut at Carnegie Hall, New York and on tour in Japan. He enjoys a successful relationship with the Wigmore Hall, where, in the 2012/13 season, he curated his own residency.

Championed by Hyperion Records, his recordings with the label include his 2017 Gramophone ‘Baroque Vocal’ Award winning disc of Bach Canatas with Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen; The Art of Melancholy, a recital of Dowland songs with Thomas Dunford; Handel’s Messiah with Polyphony and the Britten Sinfonia; Handel’s Chandos Anthems, and a Gramophone Recital Award (2012) disc ‘Arias for Guadagni’ with Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo. His prolific recordings also include Handel’s Messiah with the New College Oxford, AAM/Naxos, Handel’s Flavio for Chandos with The Early Opera Company and Christian Curnyn, Bach’s Easter Oratorio with Retrospect Ensemble, a disc of Porpora Cantatas with Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo and a disc of Handel arias with The King’s Consort for Vivat. He recorded his debut solo disc on the Wigmore Live label with his own Ensemble Guadagni, also on the Wigmore Label he has released Flow my tears, songs for lute, viol and voice and Arise my muse for which he received the Gramophone Recital Award 2014.

He is the recipient of the 2010 Royal Philharmonic Young Artist of the Year Award, the 2013 Critics’ Circle Awards for Exceptional Young Talent (Singer) and was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours 2017.

Thomas  Walker

Thomas Walker Tenor

Born in Glasgow, Thomas Walker studied brass at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and singing with Ryland Davies at the Royal College of Music, London.

Plans for this season and beyond include Rinaldo in Haydn Armida with René Jacobs and the Basel Chamber Orchestra in Warsaw, Vienna and Basel; Don Basilio/Don Curzio Le Nozze di Figaro with Jacobs and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra on tour to Seoul and Shanghai; and his début at the Opéra national de Paris and Staatsoper Berlin as Adam in Scarlatti Il Primo Omicidio. Concerts include Evangelist St John Passion on tour with the Orchestra of the 18th Century and Daniel Reuss; Bach cantatas with Company of Music at the Wiener Konzerthaus; and Messiah with Hallé Orchestra and John Butt, and the Gabrieli Consort and Paul McCreesh.

Thomas has recently sung the title role in a new production by Tobias Kratzer of Rameau Zoroastre at the Komische Oper Berlin; Purcell Fairy Queen with Stuttgart Opera; Admeto in Gluck Alceste at the Ruhr Triennale; Sospiro in Gassmann L’opéra seria for La Monnaie, Brussels; title role in Rameau Platée for Stuttgart Opera and Don Pedrarias Davila in Peter Sellars’ new production of Purcell The Indian Queen for English National Opera. Past roles include Count Almaviva; Eurimaco The Return of Ulysses; Janek Makropulos Case; Alessandro Il Re Pastore; Quint The Turn of the Screw; Lysander A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Lindoro L’Italiana in Algeri; Pélleas; Linfea Calisto; and Letchmere Owen Wingrave for companies including the Royal Opera Covent Garden, ENO, Scottish Opera, Innsbruck Early Music Festival and on tour with Ensemble Matheus and Freiburg Baroque Orchestra.

Recent concerts have included Beethoven Missa Solemnis on tour with the Orchestra of the 18th Century and Daniel Reuss; title role in Handel Belshazzar with the RIAS Kammerchor Berlin and Ottavio Dantone on a European tour including the 2016 Salzburg Festival; Orff Carmina Burana at the 2015 BBC Proms; Beethoven Choral Fantasy at the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival; Elijah with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and McCreesh; Berlioz L’enfance du Christ for the Gulbenkian Foundation also with McCreesh and Haydn Die Schöpfung with the Belgian B’Rock Orchestra in Amsterdam. He has also sung Britten Les Illuminations and War Requiem; Stravinsky Pulcinella; Meyerbeer Emma di Resburgo and Tippett A Child of our Time with conductors including Sir Andrew Davis and Jeffrey Tate.

Bach appearances include St John and St Matthew Passions with the OAE and Mark Padmore and the Gabrieli Consort and Paul McCreesh; Bach Mass in F and Easter Oratorio with the Orchestra of the 18th Century and Frans Brüggen and Bach (JC, JS and CPE) Magnificat with Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen (concert and recording).

Ashley  Riches

Ashley Riches Baritone

British bass-baritone Ashley Riches read English at the University of Cambridge where he was a member of the King’s College Choir. He studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and subsequently joined the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House. This season he joins the BBC New Generation Artist scheme.

After making his Royal Opera main stage debut in concert with Roberto Alagna, further appearances at the house included Salieri in Rimsky Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri, Michael in the world premiere of Eichbert’s Glare (Linbury Studio), Morales Carmen, Mandarin Turandot, Baron Douphol La Traviata and Officer Les Dialogues des Carmelites.

Other roles include Osmano in L’Ormindo, Marcello La Bohème, title roles Eugene Onegin, Don Giovanni and Owen Wingrave, Aeneas Dido and Aeneas, Father Hänsel und Gretel, Tarquinius The Rape of Lucretia, Sid Albert Herring, Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Ibn-Hakia Iolanta. He made his debut for English National Opera as Schaunard La Bohème and returned last season as The Pirate King The Pirates of Penzance. Other recent highlights include Purcell’s The Fairy Queen with the Academy of Ancient Music, Apollo e Dafne with the Pannon Philharmonic in Hungary, Israel in Egypt with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Christmas Oratorio on tour with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

In concert, he has appeared with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Arcangelo, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Gabrieli Consort, Berlin Philharmonic, Monteverdi Orchestra and Academy of Ancient Music under some of the world’s finest conductors including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robin Ticciati, Richard Egarr, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Peter Dijkstra, Christian Curnyn and Sir Roger Norrington. He has performed at festivals including Southwell, Flanders, Three Choirs, City of London, Schubert, Ludlow and most recently at the BBC Proms.

His recordings include Poulenc Chansons Gaillardes with Graham Johnson for Hyperion, a solo disc of Shakespeare Sonnets set to music by Mario Castelnuovo-Tadesco, St John Passion with Bach Camerata for Chandos, St Matthew Passion with English Baroque Soloists under Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Hayden Paukenmesse with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He also made a television appearance in David Starkey’s series Music and the Monarchy.

Highlights of the 2017/18 season include his first Count Almaviva Le nozze di Figaro at the English National Opera, Claudio Agrippina at the Grange Festival, Purcell’s King Arthur with the Academy of Ancient Music under Richard Egarr, Schumann Requiem with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Egarr and Levite Solomon also with the SCO under Peter Dijkstra, Mozart Requiem with the Bremen Philharmonic under Paul McCreesh, and Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He will also give recitals with Joseph Middleton at the Wigmore Hall (BBC lunchtime series), Sheffield and Leeds Universities, as well as at the Oxford Lieder Festival with Sholto Kynoch.

 RSNO Chorus

RSNO Chorus  

The RSNO Chorus performs in around six different programmes in up to twenty concerts across Scotland with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra each year. The RSNO Chorus has also had great success in recording with the Orchestra. Its recordings, amongst others, of Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, conducted by Neeme J?rvi, and Holst’s The Planets, conducted by David Lloyd-Jones, have both been subject to high critical acclaim. In addition to its commitment to the Orchestra, the RSNO Chorus performs independently and has been invited to perform with orchestras in many different parts of the world, establishing an international status for the choir. The RSNO Chorus has toured in Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Israel, Germany, Belfast, Australia, Trondheim and most recently, Amsterdam. The RSNO Chorus evolved from a choir formed in 1843 to sing the first full performance of Handel’s Messiah in Scotland. Today, the RSNO Chorus is one of the most successful choruses in the UK. In recent years, the Chorus has performed practically every work in the standard choral repertoire along with contemporary works by renowned composers, including John Adams, Magnus Lindberg, Howard Shore and James MacMillan. The RSNO Chorus is directed by Gregory Batsleer, one of the UK’s most dynamic and in demand choral conductors and chorus masters. Gregory recently received The Arts Foundation Award 2015 for Choral Conducting.

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