Press Release: Orchestra revives Handel’s original inspiration for “Messiah”

American Baroque Orchestra uses original sources,
rarely performed elements in Nov. 19 performance

New Haven, CT | The American Baroque Orchestra offers a fresh hearing of Handel’s classic “Messiah” on Saturday, November 19. The historically-informed performance is directed by Mark Bailey and will feature the stellar voices of the American Baroque Singers. The concert takes place in the visually and acoustically beautiful Marquand Chapel at the Yale Divinity School.

Mark Bailey, a specialist in early music and the artistic director of American Baroque Orchestra (ABO), has assembled a rare version of “Messiah.” “This performance,” he says, “is a chance to explore Handel’s initial inspiration and genius in ‘Messiah’.”

Bailey points out that “most versions we hear have standardized the work.” ABO, in contrast, looks to Handel’s handwritten manuscript and the copy used to conduct the premiere in 1742. The performance on November 19th will use “some of the alternate versions of the arias and duets that are less often sung in concert.” It’s like a director’s cut.
The ensemble further adds vitality through exciting ornamentation, notes inégales (slightly swung rhythms), and other hallmarks of what Bailey calls “stylistic fidelity.”
“The result,” says Bailey, is a “Messiah” that sounds “fresh, intimate, multi-layered, and energized.”

The selection of arias and choruses aligns around a central theme. This is a version of “Messiah” created for the Christmas season, though it was originally performed at Easter-time.

The American Baroque Orchestra (ABO), a first-rate period instrumental ensemble, has been active in New Haven and beyond for several years and was officially established last year. Bailey also directs its companion vocal ensemble, American Baroque Singers, which enjoyed a successful debut in October and in this concert will be joined by the trebles of St. Paul’s Choir (Fairfield).

The November 19th concert begins at 7:30 pm in Marquand Chapel, located at 409 Prospect Street in New Haven. Parking is available on site.

Advance tickets are $18 general admission, $35 for preferred patron seating, and are available at At the door, general admission tickets are $20, and student tickets are available on a pay-as-you-can basis. Door sales are cash and check only.

For more information, visit

About the Performers

The American Baroque Orchestra (ABO) is a first-rate period instrumental ensemble filled with extraordinary talent. Under the direction of Mark Bailey, its superior musicians perform great musical works with energy, depth, ingenuity, and historical insight. By enlivening education about baroque performance, ABO fulfills its mission to build vibrant and meaningful connections between listeners and musical repertoire. The genesis of the ensemble dates to the 2004–2005 season, and ABO enjoyed its first official season in 2010–2011. The ensemble displays an innovative respect for music and its history though discovery, collaboration, and education.

Mark Bailey, the artistic director of American Baroque Orchestra, extensively leads and performs music of the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries, with particular focus on Slavic instrumental and vocal repertoire. He has been artistic director of the Yale Russian Chorus since 1995 and frequently guest-conducts ensembles such as Cappella Romana and Pro Coro Canada, which will soon release “The Heart of Kiev,” a recording of choral works by baroque and classical Slavic composers under Mr. Bailey’s direction. He frequently lectures on the topic of Slavic music and period performance practice at major colleges and universities, as well as at venues such as Lincoln Center. His transcriptions and arrangements of Slavic baroque music are performed extensively, most recently by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in their season opener. Mr. Bailey also plays baroque viola and coaches singers and instrumentalists in period style, technique, and ornamentation.

Press Contact
Mara Hazzard-Wallingford,

About Chris Wallingford

Technical Consultant
This entry was posted in News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.