Neujahrskonzert / New Year’s Concert

The dais of the Frauenkirche Β© Ricky Yates

On the evening of New Year’s Day, I once more visited the Frauenkirche in Dresden. However, on this occasion it wasn’t to conduct an English-language Anglican service, but to enjoy a complete performance of the oratorio ‘Messiah’, by George Frederick Handel, or Georg Friederich HΓ€ndel as the German programme correctly declared.

Therefore, instead of being seated on the main dais, or standing in the forward pulpit, I was located in a balcony, high up overlooking the dais, from where in advance of the performance, I took this photograph, leaning over the balustrade. During the performance, I had to be seated and could only hear the orchestra, soloists and chorus as the said balustrade blocked my view πŸ™ However, I did stand for the Hallelujah Chorus, as is the tradition, but clearly one unknown to the predominantly German audience who all remained seated πŸ˜‰

I am not complaining about the view, (or lack of it), from my seat, as I got my ticket completely free. It was a Mitarbeiterkarte – one for an employee or volunteer. In contrast, a ticket for a seat in the main body of the Hauptraum cost €84.00.

My ticket costing €0.00 Β© Ricky Yates

Although, with one exception, (the Armenian soprano Narine Yeghiyan), all the participants were German, the oratorio was sung in English, using the libretto compiled by Charles Jennens; Handel only being responsible for the music. The text is a compilation of extracts from the Authorized or King James Version of the Bible, and when taken from the Psalms, using the Psalter translated by Myles Coverdale, which appears in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

The programme Β© Ricky Yates

The programme, (€3.00), as well as given short biographies of the soloists, chorus, orchestra and conductor, contained the complete text of the libretto in English, together with a translation into German. The English text did include a couple of errors, most notably, ‘His yoke is easy, and His burthen is light’ πŸ˜‰ My German is unfortunately not good enough to know whether anything got ‘lost in translation’ πŸ˜‰

As you can see, the programme also made another common error with regard to this oratorio. The correct title of the work is ‘Messiah’, (or ‘Messias’, auf Deutsch), without the definite article. No need for ‘The’ or ‘Der‘!

Although the oratorio is divided into three parts, it was played and sung right through, without an interval, the performance lasting about two hours and five minutes in total. I was therefore glad of the opportunity to stretch my legs by standing for the Hallelujah Chorus, which marks the conclusion of part two. After the final ‘Amen’ had been sung, the performers received a long, loud and well-deserved standing ovation.

Whilst I have a double CD of ‘Messiah’, sung by ‘The Sixteen’, directed by Harry Christophers, there is nothing better than being present at a live performance of the work, especially in such a significant venue as the Dresden Frauenkirche. It did make for an excellent beginning to 2020.

8 comments to Neujahrskonzert / New Year’s Concert

  • Pauleen Bang

    Sounds wonderful.

  • Jonathan Hodgson

    Hi Ricky,

    You might have seen/like to watch this Advent 2019 concert from Dresden too.

    There’s a bit of the Messiah in it too, and it also features the fabulous young Russian soprano Julia Muzychenko, inter alia.

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Jonathan – I’ve inserted the link you sent separately, into your original comment so it now makes sense πŸ™‚

  • Robert E. Doolittle

    What a wonderful way to start a New Year. More pictures of snow please.

    • Ricky

      It was a wonderful way to start the New Year!

      However, I cannot provide you with any new photos of snow yet I’m afraid, as we haven’t really had any this current winter. On two occasions, once before Christmas & once since, we’ve had a dusting of snow which melted a few hours later. That’s all! Many Czech ski resorts are struggling this winter, due to lack of snow. If/when we do get a reasonable amount of snow, I promise that pictures will follow.

  • Sounds like a wonderful experience, Ricky! How wonderful to be there as a Mitarbeiter guest πŸ™‚ I’d love to go to a New Year’s concert like this one someday.

    • Ricky

      It was a wonderful experience, Cynthia! And even better that I got in free as a Mitarbeiter guest. It was the first concert I’ve been to at the Frauenkirche but certainly won’t be my last.