Handel's Messiah

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Choir and Orchestra’s live Messiah concert tradition?

Generally, the Choir and Orchestra perform Messiah at Easter every other year. The live 2020 Messiah event scheduled in the Salt Lake Tabernacle was cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus. It is anticipated that the biennial tradition of Handel’s Messiah performances by the Choir and Orchestra will resume in 2021. 

How long is Messiah?

The complete oratorio is approximately two hours and 20 minutes, but with applause and two brief intermissions, it is closer to two hours and 45 minutes.

When watching the Messiah internet stream, will I be able to start and stop the stream?

Once Messiah has started to play, you will be able to stop and start the stream as needed.  

Will I be able to download Messiah?

The Messiah stream will not be downloadable. It is, however, available online at tabchoir.org/messiah and from the Choir’s YouTube channel.

What music score should I use for this Messiah

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square recommends the use of the G. Schirmer Messiah which is in the public domain. Here is a link to that G. Schirmer Messiah public domain PDF score (216 pages) that is downloadable. (Please be aware that public domain/copyright laws vary from country to country, so this copy may not be free of known copyright restrictions in all jurisdictions.) Music scores in additional languages for Messiah are available by changing the flag to the country of your choice on the same link above.

If you want to purchase your own choral score, here is a link to purchase the frequently used score on Amazon.com.

How will I know when to start and stop singing?

Follow along in the music score for all the choruses. Arias are the solo parts and it is not usual practice to sing along with the soloists (you may get a poke in the side from those singing with you)! 

Why do audiences traditionally stand during the “Hallelujah” Chorus?

The tradition is said to have started when King George II attended a royal performance of Messiah. He was so moved, the story goes, when he heard the “Hallelujah Chorus” that he stood. It was customary that everyone in the king’s presence also had to stand, which led to the tradition of standing during this chorus which continues for performances even today. 

Where can I find more information about George Frideric Handel’s Messiah?

Messiah is an English-language oratorio by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens. The oratorio tells the story of Christ’s life in three sections, from His birth to His death and eventual Resurrection. It was first performed in Dublin on April 13, 1742. Today, Messiah has become one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.

Watch the 30-minute Christmas special The Messiah Story for an understanding of Messiah’s history.

Where can I find information about featured soloists? Composer George Frideric Handel? Conductor Mack Wilberg? Messiah libretto (lyrics) in English? 

The 2018 Messiah concert program is posted on the website and contains information on all of the above. The program is posted in a pdf format in five languages (libretto only in English) that may be downloaded and printed from tabchoir.org/messiah. Additional Messiah resource and enrichment materials are available on our website at tabchoir.org/messiah.

Where can I find information about the organists who perform on Messiah?

Information on the organists for the performance is available on the Choir’s website: https://www.thetabernaclechoir.org/about/organs/bios.html

Where can I find Messiah resources from the Choir that are translated into French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish?

The www.tabchoir.org/messiah page will have four language options—French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish—for selected resources. Click on the language option of your choice.

Is there an audio recording of The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square’s Messiah?

Two versions of the 2016 recording are available to download or purchase: Complete Oratorio, containing every movement of Messiah on two CDs with a bonus DVD, and Highlights, including some of the best loved choruses with featured selections by each of the soloists. To learn more about these recordings. check here.

Both recordings can also be found on Spotify: Complete Oratorio and Highlights.