I attended a unique and marvelous rendition of Handel’s Messiah last weekend. Instead of the usual choir of 100-plus voices, The Inverse Opera performed it with 12. It was done without props or costumes, in a black box theatre at Taproot Theatre’s new Kendall Center.
Can Handel’s magnificent Messiah be adequately performed by one dozen voices? The Inverse Opera thought so. Instead of a faceless multitude in a cavernous hall, the group believed that in taking away the crowd, one can hear the voices – and each voice has a story. Directors Robert Scherzer and Michael Nutting emphasized the text of the Messiah, compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, to celebrate the journey of each soloist, or character, it portrays.
“I’m so excited that we are able to be the first to perform in Taproot Theatre’s Kendall Center with this particular piece. It’s almost poetic to be in an entirely brand new space, performing one of the most familiar pieces of all time,” said Jadd Davis, co-founder of The Inverse Opera. “People often pay an arm and a leg to hear Messiah sung in a large commercial house, but we are making this experience accessible to every member of the community. We are creating something that is grand and inspiring, yet intimate and welcoming. It’s the perfect combination for a holiday production.”
I have to agree. If you love Messiah, you will love this production. If you’ve heard it dozens of times, it will be a new experience — I promise. And if you’ve never heard it before, now is the time to do so.
The Inverse Opera chorus, along with soloists shown above–Erica Row (Vashon Opera, Village Theatre, Opera on Tap), Sonia Perez (Seattle Opera, Brooklyn Opera Orchestra), John Coons (Seattle Opera, Boston Symphony Pops) and Daniel Oakden (Seattle Opera, 5th Avenue Theatre)–bring the story to life, and the venue at Taproot Theatre brings the audience into the action.
The Inverse Opera’s Messiah will be performed two more times at the Taproot Theatre Kendall Center, on Friday and Saturday, December 20 and 21 at 8 pm. Tickets ($15-$25) are available at www.taproottheatre.org or by calling 206-781-9707.
Photos courtesy of The Inverse Opera.