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Dayton Philharmonic and Dayton Philharmonic Chamber Choir Present the Glorious Holiday Tradition of Handel’s Messiah

Communications & Media Manager

Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
Phone 937-224-3521 x 1138

DAYTON, OH (December 4, 2014) – On Sunday, December 21 at 6:30 pm at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 125 N Wilkinson St, Dayton, OH, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dayton Philharmonic Chamber Choir, under the leadership of DPO Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman, will present the glorious Handel’s Messiah, the second Special Event concert of the 2014–2015 New Horizons season.  Four soloists will join the Dayton Philharmonic Chorus on stage to lend their masterful voices to this beautiful holiday tradition.  Dayton Philharmonic welcomes soprano Minnita Daniel-Cox, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Panara, tenor Joshua Wheeker, and bass Andrew Lovato. This performance of Handel’s Messiah is sponsored by The Harlamert Charitable Foundation. 

It was 1741, and George Frideric Handel was drowning…financially and artistically. Two operas that he had recently written had flopped miserably, and it appeared that he would have to leave England. He needed a savior in the worst of all possible ways. A former collaborator advised him to drop opera for the oratorio form. That, coupled with an invitation from an Irish politician to participate in a sort of oratorio festival, led Handel to join with his collaborator friend and compose an oratorio about the birth and passion of Christ. Friendly advice and a timely invitation proved Handel’s salvation, making the name of the oratorio he’d composed, Messiah (which means "savior" or "liberator"), quite appropriate.

It seems eerily fitting that Messiah, Handel's first sacred, nondramatic oratorio, was the harbinger of his spate of oratorios that dealt with dramatized Old Testament stories or Christian writings dating from the early centuries of the Common Era that are not included in the Bible. Some critics believe that Handel allowed opera to influence the composition of Messiah, a theory that seems to enjoy historical confirmation; in Handel’s time, orchestras, soloists, and choirs performed Messiah in theaters more often than in churches. In three parts, Messiah relates the prophecy of a savior and his coming, his passion and resurrection, and his role in eternal life after death. 

Although this work speaks directly to the gospel message that the passion and resurrection celebrated at Easter make it the most important part of the church year, Handel’s Messiah finds eager acceptance at Christmas as well. With no distinguishable characters, the drama relies entirely on the communication of the story of Christ in words, as well as in the powerful, emotionally stirring, and at times heartbreakingly beautiful music of a composer for whom the oratorio proved a personal salvation. 

Tickets for Handel’s Messiah are $29 for adults and $14 for students and children and can be purchased at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at  Senior, teacher and military discounts are available at the box office. For more information or to order subscriptions, including flexible subscription types that include performances by Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet, visit


About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they are the largest performing arts organization in the community, offering a tremendous variety of performance and education programs and setting a new standard for artistic excellence.  Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio's cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents.  The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is proud to be one of five performing arts organizations in the country selected to receive a three-year "Music Alive" grant from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras.
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