ONE of the essential parts of the Christmas season is Handel’s Messiah.

It’s as traditional as mince pies, as evergreen as holly, and local music lovers get the chance to see and hear it when it comes to Malvern’s Festival Theatre just before the big day.on Saturday, December 21.

Armonico Consort’s critically-acclaimed choir and baroque orchestra will be offering a chance to hear the work as it was in Handel’s time, as they will perform on instruments of the period on Saturday, December 21.

They’ll be joined by a top line-up of incredible soloists, including the astounding voice of bass John Lee, all the way from Singapore.

Messiah is Handel’s best-known oratorio, and with good reason: it contains some of his greatest tunes, rousing choruses and attractive arias including ‘For Unto Us a Child is Born’, ‘The Trumpet Shall Sound’ and ‘Ev’ry Valley Shall be Exalted’, as well as the famous ‘Hallelujah!’ chorus.

It took Handel just over three weeks to write the estimated quarter of a million notes! Although now associated with Christmas, Messiah was actually written as a work for Easter and was first performed in Dublin in April 1742. In order to meet the demand for tickets to the premiere, ladies were asked to attend “without Hoops” and “gentlemen are desired to attend without their swords”.

Warwick-based Armonico Consort have been lauded for their performances of early and Baroque music, most recently with a five-star review in the BBC Music magazine for their recording ‘Supersize Polyphony’.