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

MESSIAH FROM SCRATCH®

ROYAL ALBERT HALL

Sunday 10 November 2024, 7.00 pm
OUR 50th ANNIVERSARY!

MORE ABOUT THIS CONCERT

A special anniversary
This is our 50th anniversary performance and is expected to sell out fast: see below for booking links. We will also be auctioning, after the interval, 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 from your supporters and – if you are unused to conducting 3,000 singers plus a professional orchestra – you might want to practise your conducting techniques in front of a mirror!

How to book tickets
To book singing tickets, or audience seats in the Arena, Boxes or Circle, visit our bookings page for full information, 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 announce performances from soprano Mary Bevan, mezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons, tenor Nick Pritchard and bass-baritone Ashley Riches. The English Festival Orchestra will be conducted by Brian Kay and the Royal Albert Hall’s ‘Father’ Willis organ will be played by Jane Watts. 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; we have been associated with this important charity since at least 1978. The entire proceeds of this year’s Hallelujah Chorus Auction will also be donated to the BHF. In February 2010, TRBC founders Don and Ann Monro received on behalf of The Really Big Chorus a ‘Heart Hero’ award from the Foundation, in recognition of the sums (now well over a quarter of a million pounds) 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) was greeted with acclaim, but the London première a year later was met with indifference, even hostility. Handel had to wait until 1749 before Messiah achieved the popularity it has enjoyed ever since. The first ‘charity’ performance was given in 1750 for the Foundling Hospital, since when Messiah has probably raised more money for charity than any other piece of music.

The tradition of English audiences standing at the opening of the Hallelujah Chorus dates back to the time of King George II who is reported to have sprung to his feet at this point in the performance, with the rest of the audience deferentially following suit. It has been assumed that the King did so in sheer admiration, but 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 (follow the link or telephone 020 7589 8212).

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