ALISON CROOSE King's Lynn Corn Exchange
The combined strengths of King's Lynn Festival Chorus, OSJ (Orchestra of St John's), four young soloists and Handel's music gave King's Lynn Festival an impressive start.
Judas Maccabaeus is a tuneful, celebratory work well-suited to launching the two-week festival. Leading choral director Michael Kibblewhite harnessed the forces to great effect to conduct a lively and well-received performance.
The chorus, benefiting from additional strength in its bass section, had for inspiration the immaculate playing of one of Britain's leading orchestras and the talents of Rachel Nicholls (soprano), Diana Moore (mezzo soprano), Benjamin Hulett (tenor) and Grant Doyle (baritone).
The high calibre of the professional input lifted the 100-strong chorus and it was good to witness their enjoyment of the occasion.
The impact of the oratorio builds as the work progresses and steps up a gear with the introduction of the brass section. The additional voices of West Norfolk Youth Choir gave a further boost.
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As the music moved towards its climax, Mr Kibblewhite ensured the familiar See, the Conquering Hero Comes and O Lovely Peace made a suitable impact before the final Hallelujah confirmed the work worthy of the title Handel's “second Messiah”.