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Handel Messiah

Nicholas McGegan Conductor
Rowan Pierce Soprano
Diana Moore Mezzo-Soprano
Nicholas Mulroy Tenor
William Berger Baritone
RSNO Chorus  



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Nicholas McGegan

Nicholas McGegan Conductor

Nicholas McGegan is “one of the finest baroque conductors of his generation” (Independent) and “an expert in 18th century style” (New Yorker). In his capacity as Music Director of San Francisco based Philharmonia Baroque he has established the group as the leading period band in America. In 2005 they marked their 20-year association with concerts at Carnegie Hall, their first European tour with appearances at the BBC Proms, Snape Maltings Aldeburgh, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and the International Handel Festival, Göttingen where McGegan was Artistic Director 1991 – 2011. He is also the Principal Guest Conductor of Pasadena Symphony.

Active in opera as well as the concert hall, he has been Principal Guest Conductor of Scottish Opera and Principal Conductor of Sweden’s 18th Century theatre in Drottingholm, running the annual festival there.

He has been a pioneer in the process of exporting historically informed performance practice beyond the world of period instruments to wider conventional symphonic forces, guest-conducting with orchestras such as the Chicago, St Louis, Toronto, Montreal and Sydney Symphony Orchestras, the New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestras, the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Houston and Concertgebouw Orchestras as well as the Royal Scottish National, BBC Scottish Symphony, Scottish Chamber, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and CBSO Baroque Ensemble, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Orquestra Sinfonica do Porto at Casa da Musica, Capella Savaria at the Esterházy Festival, and the Hallé.

Opera companies he works with include Royal Opera House Covent Garden, San Francisco, Santa Fe and Washington. He has broken new ground in experimental dance-collaborations with Mark Morris, notably at festivals such as Edinburgh International and Ravinia.

His discography of over 100 releases includes the world premiere recording of Handel’s Susanna, which attracted both a Gramophone Award and Grammy nomination. Recent issues of the same composer’s works include Solomon, Samson and Acis and Galatea (a rarity in that it unearths the little-known version adapted by Felix Mendelssohn). Among his other rediscoveries is the first performance in modern times of Handel’s masterly but mislaid Gloria. Other important releases on Philharmonia Baroque’s own label include Brahms Serenades, Berlioz Nuits D’Ete, Haydn Symphonies, Vivaldi Four Seasons and Handel Atalanta.

Recent highlights include conducting the BBC Proms’ first prom outside of London since the 1930s and the world premiere of Sally Beamish’s The Judas Passion, co-commissioned by the OAE and the Philharmonia Baroque. In 2018/19 he returns to conduct the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and appears with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, the NDR Radiophilharmonie, and with the MDR-Sinfonieorchester at MDR Musiksommer.

Born in England, he was educated at Cambridge and Oxford universities. His awards include an honorary professorship at Georg-August University, Göttingen, the Hallé Handel Prize, an order of merit of the state of Lower Saxony, a medal of Honour of the City of Goettingen and an official Nicholas McGegan Day, declared by the Mayor of San Francisco for two decades of distinguished work with the Philharmonia Baroque.

He was made an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2010.

Rowan  Pierce

Rowan Pierce Soprano

Yorkshire born Rowan Pierce is a Samling Artist who has performed at the BBC Proms, Wigmore Hall, Sage Gateshead, Cheltenham, Ludlow, Bath and Ryedale Festivals with ensembles including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of Ancient Music, Florilegium, Scottish Chamber, City of Birmingham Symphony and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestras. Opera roles include Galatea, Acis & Galatea, with the Academy of Ancient Music, Susanna, The Marriage of Figaro, Miss Wordsworth, Albert Herring. Recent and future performances include The Fairy Queen with both the Academy of Ancient Music and the Gabrieli Consort, Belinda/Dido and Aeneas with AAM, Bach B minor mass with the City of London Sinfonia, Strauss songs with the BBC Scottish Symphony and Tiny, Paul Bunyan and Papagena, The Magic Flute, for English National Opera where she is a Harewood Artist.

Prizes include the Van Someren Godfery Prize, Schubert Society Singer Prize and the President’s Award at the Royal College of Music as well as winning both the song and main prizes at the Grange Festival’s inaugural singing competition.

She was generously supported by the Countess of Munster Award and Midori Nishiura at the RCM.

Diana  Moore

Diana Moore Mezzo-Soprano

English mezzo-soprano Diana Moore is being lauded on both sides of the Atlantic for her “emotional depth” (The Guardian), “thrilling” technical bravura (Gramophone), and “rich, evocative sound” (San Francisco Chronicle). She enjoys a varied and international career of opera, oratorio, and concert performances, and is a popular soloist at many major music festivals.

Ms. Moore’s tall and graceful stature has made her the ideal trouser-role performer. With conductor Nicholas McGegan and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Moore performed the role of “Medoro” in Handel’s Orlando in an acclaimed American tour at the Ravinia Festival, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, and Tanglewood Festival. Recent concert engagements of note include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony along with selections from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with Royal Northern Sinfonia and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius at Royal Albert Hall and Winchester, Ely, Gloucester, and York Minster Cathedrals.

As a recording artist, Moore is a soloist on the premiere recording of Scarlatti’s La Gloria di Primavera released in 2016 with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra which was selected as an “Editor’s Choice” recording in Gramophone. Her recording of Handel's Parnasso in Festa with King’s Consort and conductor Matthew Halls was the winner of the Stanley Sadie Handel Recording Prize. Her latest album is Handel’s Messiah with the Baltimore Symphony, release in Fall 2018.

Ms. Moore's charismatic vocal quality and training place her firmly within the fine heritage of English mezzo-sopranos. She is committed to celebrating the music and musicians of her homeland and has built a reputation as a leading exponent of English song. In 2007, she devised Kathleen Ferrier — Her Life, Letters & Music, to honor that legendary English singer, a program that has been endorsed by the Kathleen Ferrier Society.

Nicholas  Mulroy

Nicholas Mulroy Tenor

Born in Liverpool, Nicholas Mulroy read Modern Languages at Clare College Cambridge and then studied at the Royal Academy of Music.

On the concert platform, he has sung Bach St John Passion with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre, the Gabrieli Consort and Paul McCreesh and with the Handel and Haydn Society; Bach Christmas Oratorio in London with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, and with the Netherlands Chamber Choir and Concerto Copenhagen; le Récitant Berlioz L’Enfance du Christ with Sir Colin Davis, Maria de Buenos Aires with Mr McFall’s Chamber, Messiah with Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Nicholas McGegan as well as several appearances at the BBC Proms (Monteverdi Vespers 1610, Campra Requiem and Bach St John Passion) and with the Staatskapelle Dresden (Bach B Minor Mass and Haydn Harmonie-Messe). He has sung St Matthew Passion with Laurence Cummings at the London Handel Festival and with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Messiah with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in London and across Europe, concerts and recordings of St John Passion with Polyphony under Stephen Layton and Monteverdi Vespers 1610 with the Magdalena Consort at the Cheltenham Festival.

His opera engagements have included Premiére Parque Rameau Hippolyte et Aricie with Emmanuelle Haïm at the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse and Opéra National de Paris, Dardanus with Emmanuelle Haïm in Lille, Caen and Dijon, L’incoronazione di Poppea for Glyndebourne on Tour, Opera de Lille and Opera de Dijon and Septimius in Handel Theodora with Trevor Pinnock. He made his Glyndebourne debut under Jurowski in Prokofiev’s Betrothal in a Monastery.

A committed recitalist, highlights include Janácek’s Diary of one who Vanished with the Prince Consort in the Oxford Lieder Festival, Vaughan Williams On Wenlock Edge in Edinburgh and with the Badke Quartet, Gavin Bryars Eight Irish Madrigals with Mr McFall’s Chamber (also on CD), Britten Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo and Fauré La Bonne Chanson at the Lichfield Festival, and, with regular collaborator John Reid, Die schöne Müllerin, Schumann Op 24 and Op 39, and Tippett’s The Heart’s Assurance. Recent concert appearances include collaborations with the BBC Philharmonic, Auckland Philharmonia, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Hallé, and the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists at the BBC Proms.

Recordings include a Gramophone Award-winning Messiah, Evangelist St Matthew Passion and Acis Acis and Galatea for John Butt and Dunedin Consort (Linn), Monteverdi Vespers 1610 (Robert King/King’s Consort/Hyperion), a disc of Michael Finissy (Weeks/Exaudi/NMC), Monteverdi Vespers 1610 with Edward Higginbottom and a series of Monteverdi (I Fagiolini/Chandos). He recently featured on two versions of the St John Passion singing the arias for Stephen Layton/Polyphony on Hyperion and Evangelist and arias for John Butt/Dunedin Consort on Linn.

Recent engagements include Evangelist in St John Passion with the Dunedin Consort in the 2017 BBC Proms and 2018 Easter at King’s College Cambridge, Purcell’s The Fairy Queen with the Royal Danish Opera, an Australian tour of Bach Christmas Oratorio with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and a European tour of Handel’s Messiah with Jordi Savall, Bach at the Al Bustan Festival in Lebanon, and Telemann cantatas with the RIAS Kammerchor.

In the 2018/19 season, Nicholas can be heard performing across Europe. He returns to the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart to tour Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and St John Passion in Italy, Germany and France, and tours St Matthew Passion with the Gabrieli Consort across Europe. He sings Britten’s War Requiem with Viva Orchestra and Finzi’s Dies Natalis with the Northern Chamber Orchestra. He also performs songs by Barbara Strozzi with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at Kings Palace, in the venue’s inaugural Venue Unwrapped concert, and Britten’s Illuminations in Bilbao with the Britten Sinfonia. Further afield, he returns to the St Paul Chamber Orchestra to sing Evangelist in St John Passion, and performs Black Cat in Columbia with the Wiener Akademie.

William  Berger

William Berger Baritone

South African baritone William Berger studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and is a former member of the Young Singers Programme at English National Opera. He performs widely in opera and as a recitalist. Selected opera appearances include Marcello (La bohème) and Bill (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny) for Opera Vlaanderen, Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte) for the Liceu, Barcelona, Oreste (Iphigénie en Tauride) for the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Lisbon, Escamillo (Carmen) for Cape Town Opera and in Lucerne, the title role of Imeneo for the International Handel Festival, Göttingen, Papageno (Die Zauberflöte) for Opéra de Toulon, Minsk Man (Flight) for Opera Omaha, Marcello for Opéra de Rouen and Boris (Shostakovich’s Cheryomushki) for Nouvel Opéra Fribourg.

Berger’s concert appearances include a German recital tour with Julius Drake, Mozart’s Requiem with Philharmonie Zuidnederland, Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem at deSingel Antwerp, La Descente d’Orphée aux enfers under Christian Curnyn at Wigmore Hall and Messiah with the Ulster Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. His many recordings include two solo albums: Insomnia: A Nocturnal Voyage in Song (Delphian, included in the Guardian’s Top Ten Classical CDs of the Year) and Hommage à Trois (Linn Records), and Duet, a duo album of works by Mendelssohn, Schumann and Cornelius with soprano Lucy Crowe. Other selected recordings include Handel’s Samson (Carus) with the Festival Orchester Göttingen, Alexander’s Feast and The Triumph of Time and Truth with Ludus Baroque (Delphian), and Admeto (Unitel Classics DVD).

Highlights in the 2018/19 Season include Berger’s role debut as Don Giovanni for the Würzburg Mozart Festival and his Royal Opera House, London, National Symphony (Kennedy Center), and St. Louis Symphony debuts.

 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 attracted 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 parts of the world, establishing an international status and touring to Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Israel, Germany, Belfast, Australia, Trondheim and most recently, Amsterdam and Prague. In 2018 it performed Britten’s War Requiem with the RSNO at the BBC Proms.

The RSNO Chorus evolved from a choir formed in 1843 to sing the first full performance of Handel’s Messiah in Scotland. Today, it is one of the most successful choruses in the UK. In recent years, it 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. In 2015 Gregory received The Arts Foundation Fellowship in Choral Conducting.