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The Messiah, Pazifik - a charity Christmas concert on Putney Bridge

Messiah

Story by Jack Foley

ONE of Britain’s great Christmas traditions, Handel’s Messiah, will honour another great British tradition, the National Health Service, when Pacific artists gather to present The Messiah, Pazifik with orchestra, on November 25, 2017 at St Mary’s Church, Putney Bridge.

This stylized realization was conceived by Sani Muliaumasealii, artistic director of London’s first Samoan arts entity, The GAFA Arts Collective (GAC).

All proceeds will go to CW+, the charity for Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust of which Muliaumasealii has recent first-hand experience after being admitted for a respiratory complaint needing urgent medical care.

Part of the charity’s remit is to deliver a unique art and design programme that transforms the hospital experience and clinical environment.

“Art – and music in particular, is universal and touches everyone without bias – just like the NHS” says Muliaumasealii.

“My treatment at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital has left a lasting impression. It’s humbling to see how hard everyone there works – from Doctors, Nurses, to support staff and cleaners, some worked up to 12 hours without a break – no complaints – they were entirely selfless.”

He continued: “Handel’s Messiah is a particularly relevant piece for Samoa. The London Missionary Society brought Christianity to Samoa which later became a German colony. Handel lived and worked in this great city and now Pacific artists flock here to do the same there is an interesting symmetry that warrants exploration – which is what this work attempts to do.”

Using the Messiah narrative as metaphor for the coming of the Christian faith to Samoa, The Messiah, Pazifik, sketches vignettes investigating the real politik and geo political relevance of the piece, whilst remaining faithful to the German composers score.

The artist line-up boasts some of the Pacific’s most established operatic talents, and most of the main roles are sung by Samoans including international soprano Aivale Cole whose glorious voice has travelled the globe and is featured on The Lord of the Rings soundtrack.

Sani Muliaumasealii (Royal Opera House, Montreal Symphony) shares the stage and returning to the GAC is Australian Mezzo Soprano Louise Callinan (Opéra National de Paris)

Joining them are the emerging the talents of Tongan NZ tenor Filipe Manu the 2017 winner of the IFAC Handa Australian singing competition, fellow award winner and student Samoan Baritone Benson Wilson, and the rising star and National Opera Studio graduate Samoan Bass Baritone, James Ioelu.

The, Rosenau Sinfonia Orchestra, will be led by Maestro Stephen Anthony Brown at the podium. The performance will also see the very first outing of choral ensemble LeoGAFA Voices, newly created by The GAFA Arts Collective.

Muliaumasealii, a tenor who will also perform in the piece, was incredibly impressed with the care giving at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital – Now back in full health and able to throw himself once again into his work, Muliaumasealii is determined to contribute to the institution who returned him to full strength.

He said: “They were amazing and are literally evocative of ‘the Messiah’ – saving lives every day. I want to give back in a meaningful way, and the only way I know how – through music. There will also be a live feed of ‘The Messiah, Pazifik’ so that those at the hospital and indeed the world can enjoy the event even if they’re not physically able to attend. This is an exciting prospect for us and a first for us as a company.”

Tickets – costing from £30-£15 (concessions) – are available from this website

Listings
The Messiah Pazifik
Date: Saturday, November 25, 2017
Time: 19:00 – 22:00 (with 20min interval)
Pre-concert talk: 17.45
Venue: St Mary’s Church Putney Bridge Approach, London SW15 2JQ

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