It’s that time of year when one ponders the vexed question of how many Messiahs, and which ones, one is going to see this year. For Torontonians there seem to be four principal contenders; two fairly conventional and two less so. At the conventional end of things there’s the TSO of course. This year it’s back to the usual performing edition though fans of Sir Andrew’s “Big Fat Messiah” as heard last year can now acquire it on CD from the Chandos label. Baroque specialist Nicholas McGegan conducts so it’s probably as close to HIP as the TSO are ever going to get. Soloists are Yulia Van Doren, Abigail Levis, Isaiah Bell and Daniel Okulitch. I’m not familiar with either of the ladies but the guys are top notch. As ever the orchestra will be joined by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. There are five performances at Roy Thomson Hall on the 18th at 3pm and the 19th, 20th, 21st and 23rd at 8pm.
For the baroque purists there is, of course, Tafelmusik. Ivars Taurins conducts with Amanda Forsythe, Krisztina Szabó, Colin Balzer and Tyler Duncan as soloists and the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir in the loft. Apparently this is a Tafelmusik debut for both Ms. Forsythe and, incredibly, Ms. Szabó. I have been heard to say I would crawl across broken glass to hear Krisztina sing Handel and so I guess this is my chance. This one’s one the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th at 7.30 pm at Koerner Hall. There’s also the singalong version at Massey Hall at 2pm on the 18th.
We are into less conventional territory with Soundstreams’ Electric Messiah at The Drake Underground. This is a rework/remount of last year’s show with substantially the same team involved though I note that Adam Scime is now credited as music director. This one is on December 5th, 6th and 7th at 8pm. It’s a tiny space so I recommend getting tickets on-line in advance ($15) and getting there pretty early. Doors open at 7.30pm.
Another take, more populist perhaps, is Ballet Creole’s Soulful Messiah. This one combines tap, African-Caribbean, ballet, jazz and modern dance styles to Quincy Jones’ arrangement of Handel’s music. It’s at the Fleck Dance Theatre at Harbourfront tonight at 8pm and tomorrow at 3pm.