More information for Messiah from Scratch

Can you beat four in a bar? Take part in our Hallelujah Chorus Auction for a chance to conduct at the Royal Albert Hall!



More info for Messiah from Scratch ®, proudly celebrating its 50th anniversary on 10 November 2024, is given below.

A special anniversary
This is our 50th anniversary performance and it is selling fast, as expected: see below for booking links. We will also be auctioning the opportunity to conduct an extra performance of the Hallelujah Chorus, with all proceeds going to the British Heart Foundation. Now’s the time to start saving up or gathering sponsorship. Furthermore, if you are unused to conducting 3,000 singers plus a professional orchestra, you might want to practise your conducting techniques! You need to be in the auditorium to bid, so buy your ticket in good time.

How to book tickets
To book singing tickets, or audience seats in the Arena, Boxes or Circle, visit our bookings page, or download a booking form (opens in a new window). For audience seats in the Stalls, or standing places in the Gallery, please visit the Royal Albert Hall website.

About the performers
(clicking on the links will take you to a biography)
For our 50th anniversary performance, we have a quartet of internationally acclaimed singers who appeared with The Really Big Chorus early in their careers. We are absolutely delighted to welcome soprano Mary Bevan, mezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons, tenor Nick Pritchard and bass-baritone Ashley Riches. Brian Kay conducts the English Festival Orchestra, and Jane Watts will play the Royal Albert Hall’s ‘Father’ Willis organ. The continuo player this year will be Howard Williams, who played continuo for the first performance of Messiah from Scratch® in 1974, using a harpsichord he had built himself!

About the charity
Messiah from Scratch® supports the British Heart Foundation through programme sales, advertising and sponsorship, and we are proud of our long association with this important charity.  We will also donate the entire proceeds of this year’s Hallelujah Chorus Auction to the BHF. In February 2010, the Foundation awarded a ‘Heart Hero’ award to TRBC founders Don and Ann Monro, thus recognising how much money (well over a quarter of a million pounds) has been raised for the heart charity at our Royal Albert Hall concerts.

About Messiah
Unbelievably, Handel wrote the 52 movements of Messiah in a mere 24 days, working at a feverish pace to keep up with his imagination.  The first performance in Dublin the following year (1742) met with great acclaim. However, indifference – even hostility – greeted the London première a year later. Handel had to wait until 1749 before Messiah achieved the popularity it has enjoyed ever since. The first ‘charity’ performance took place in 1750 for the benefit of the Foundling Hospital. Since then, Messiah has probably raised more money for charity than any other piece of music.

The tradition of English audiences standing for the Hallelujah Chorus dates back to the time of King George II. He reportedly jumped to his feet at this point in the performance, the rest of the audience deferentially following suit. People assumed that the King did so in sheer admiration although there are several other possible explanations!

For information on dining, parking and disabled access please visit the Royal Albert Hall website and browse their FAQs . You can also telephone 020 7589 8212).

More info for Messiah from Scratch ®Summary  —  How to book  —  Details for singers