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Star line-up of singers and conductor for NZSO’s Messiah in Wellington

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Star line-up of singers and conductor for NZSO’s Messiah in Wellington

Acclaimed Australian conductor and Handel scholar Graham Abbott returns to conduct the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s annual must-see performance of the masterwork Messiah.

Maestro Abbott wowed audiences and critics when he conducted Messiah with the NZSO in 2012 and 2016. Wellington’s The Dominion Post praised his 2016 concert as "from the very top drawer".

"Absolutely first class playing," said RNZ Concert. "Graham Abbott the conductor is to be congratulated … It was all splendidly done."

Maestro Abbott has conducted Messiah 74 times and his NZSO concert will be his 75th performance. He never tires of Messiah or Handel. "I’ve adored the man and his music since childhood. Performances of Messiah are always thrilling because I know the audience is expecting something special. And it’s Handel, so to me that makes it special."

Messiah also features four superb Australasian vocalists. Celebrated Australian soprano Celeste Lazarenko, praised for her 2017 Messiah performance with the NZSO, returns with renowned New Zealand mezzo-soprano Anna Pierard, making her NZSO Messiah debut.

Australian tenor Andrew Goodwin, who has performed with the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies makes his NZSO debut alongside New Zealand bass Hadleigh Adams, hailed by New Yorker critic Alex Ross as a "tour de force" following his 2017 performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic

No performance of Handel’s oratorio is complete without a choir. This year the NZSO will be joined by the 140-member Orpheus Choir of Wellington.

Messiah will also be an opportunity for audiences in December to help those in need during the festive season.

In partnership with The Wellington City Mission, the NZSO is supporting the charity’s annual Christmas Star Appeal. At Messiah audience members can donate food or funds to The Mission.

"The Wellington City Mission is proud to partner with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and to be collecting at the Orchestra’s Christmas concerts. All donations received will make a big difference in the lives of people in need at Christmas," says Murray Edridge, Wellington City Missioner.

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