News: New-style classical music experience to launch with star-studded Handel’s ‘Messiah’ at Drury Lane

Handel’s Messiah: The Live Experience at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, on 6 Dec 2022 will launch a new style classical music concert experience centred on the most famous works ever written.

With world-class musicians and innovative and imaginative lighting design, visual effects, choreography and staging, the event promises to immerse audiences in a powerful and theatrical new setting for Handel’s much-loved musical telling of the story of Christ – with its universal human themes of birth, hope, joy, suffering, sacrifice and redemption.

Handel’s Messiah: The Live Experience will be the first event from Classical Everywhere, a new venture from Immersive Everywhere, the multi-award-winning creators of extraordinary events Peaky Blinders: The Rise, Doctor Who: Time Fracture and The Great Gatsby.

Classical Everywhere’s vision is to bring together the world’s greatest classical musicians and music with outstanding venues and creative and imaginative staging. The aim is to enhance the narrative and emotional power of the music to create an evocative, exhilarating and entertaining classical experience for wide audiences.

Under the baton of conductor Gregory Batsleer, Artistic Director and founding member of Classical Everywhere, the impressive line up for Handel’s Messiah includes internationally acclaimed soloists Danielle de Niese, Nicky Spence, Iddunu Münch and Cody Quattlebaum, alongside the English Chamber Orchestra and London Symphony Chorus.

They will perform an edited version of Handel’s enduring masterpiece, loved primarily for the sheer beauty and power of its music with its famous choruses and well-known melodies.

The creative team includes Director, Neil Connolly (Tomb Raider Live Experience, The Crystal Maze Live Experience, Lamplighters, Heist: live); Co-Concept & Multimedia Creation by international design studio flora&faunavisions GmbH (Genius Immersive Experience, Berlin & Tokyo; Wagner´s Ring Cycle, Australia; Solomun Coachella Tour); Choreography by Tom Jackson Greaves (Whistle Down the Wind, Watermill), Lighting Design by Terry Cook for Woodroffe-Bassett Design (Peaky Blinders: The Rise; Rolling Stones Tour; Elton John Tour and Expo 2020, Dubai); and Sound Design by Andy Graham (The Book Thief, Bolton Octagon).

Conventions of a typical classical concert will be put aside, and audiences encouraged to ignore their pre-conceptions, relax and enjoy the aural and visual spectacle.

The original Theatre Royal, Drury Lane – one of London’s oldest and most prominent theatres – was well known to Handel in the 1700s and his music remained popular there right up to the 1900s, with almost annual performances of Messiah. These would have been as popular with audiences then as the big West End productions playing there are now. By choosing this stunning setting, recently lovingly restored by LW Theatres, Classical Everywhere brings Handel’s great work back to its roots, reclaiming it from the classical concert hall for a wider public once again.

The production will be designed for touring so it can easily be adapted to travel in future to stunning venues globally.

Pioneering conductor Gregory Batsleer, the Artistic Director of Classical Everywhere, said: “Classical Everywhere will bring something transformative and original to the classical music world, providing new and engaging ways to experience some of the greatest music ever written. We will actively challenge preconceptions about what a concert should be. We are taking classical music back to the masses and ensuring that everyone who loves music can come and have an extraordinary night out with the best-quality music making. Audiences who might think classical concerts are dull or stuffy will have these ideas changed forever. I am so excited to be working with the exceptional creative teams at Immersive Everywhere. We dare people to be curious and try out something exciting, new and different.”

Soprano Danielle de Niese commented: “I am thrilled to be taking part in this visionary performance of Handel’s Messiah that will break new ground with its imaginative approach. I have always endeavoured to take classical music to new and unusual venues as well as newer and younger audiences. It will be hugely exhilarating to work with Greg and this superlative creative team to give one of our most loved works (which has been performed continuously ever since it was written) a fresh look. Using all of our artistic and theatrical skills it will make a truly powerful and exhilarating experience that will bring added depth to this work. I feel Mr Handel would definitely approve.”

Louis Hartshorn, Joint CEO of Immersive Everywhere, added: “We are thrilled to bring our theatrical expertise to the great works of classical music. We’re looking forward to breaking boundaries with our vision for Handel’s Messiah, whilst maintaining a focus on world class musical talent. This is a timeless piece of music that deserves to be performed with energy and intensity. When it was written it was thought of as new and ground-breaking – a far cry from the tired conventions of today. We believe classical music should be relevant, dynamic and engaging!”

Classical Everywhere presents Handel’s Messiah: The Live Experience on 6 December 2022, Theatre Royal Drury Lane at 7.30pm.

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