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Thursday, November 10, 2016


(Nathan Julius)

The performance of Handel's Messiah in Pietermaritzburg is eagerly awaited by many people in KwaZulu-Natal including the large number who travel long distances to listen to the beautiful music with its moving text drawn from the Bible by Charles Jennens who, having written it, brought it to Handel to set to music.

It is 275 years since Handel wrote the 260 page Messiah score in a period of 24 days in a blaze of inspiration. He is reported to have said "Whether I was in my body or out of my body as I wrote it I know not. God knows."

This year the PAMS (Pietermaritzburg Amateur Music Society) Choir is looking forward to singing Messiah with the Eyesizwe Adult Choir following its most enjoyable concert together in September. Nigel Fish will conduct the Pietermaritzburg City Orchestra which is directed by Dr David Plank.

Among the soloists will be Cape Town born and raised sopranist (male soprano) Nathan Julius who studied at the Drakensberg Boys Choir School, touring extensively across Europe with the choir as a soloist and chorister. In his final year at the music school, the boy soprano started to experience a change in his voice. He fully became a sopranist in his years at Hilton College, under the training of Jaco Dippenaar, and various master classes with experienced vocalists such as Antoinette Blyth (UCT lecturer) and Catherin Wyn-Rogers (UK Opera singer).

He has performed with many well-known artists in South Africa and abroad, including a performance of Messiah with Richard Cock and Jo’burg Festival Orchestra as alto soloist, and Haydn’s Creation with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also performed in the Cape Minstrels’ Singing Competition and featured as a soloist on a CD produced by the Midlands Chamber Choir (under the direction of Jaco Dippenaar). A highlight in his singing career was sharing the stage with Julliard graduate and opera singer Laetitia Grimaldi Spitzer, and piano virtuoso Ammiel Bushakevitz in May 2016. He has been considered to attend the Scholar Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland, and has been offered placing in Oxford and the Royal College of Music in The United Kingdom. His vision as an emerging opera singer is to revive all coloratura and early Baroque opera roles, as well as Bel Canto “trouser roles”. With having such a unique vocal quality, Julius has the opportunity to showcase what South Africa has to offer musically.

The Hilton Christian Fellowship Church has allowed the concert to take place in their spacious hall. This will be a good halfway for the audience members, many of whom come from Howick.

PAMS is also looking forward to having many members of the audience who have never experienced Messiah as was the case in 2014.

Messiah will take place on November 20 at 14h30 at the Hilton Christian Fellowship Church, 3 Hilton College Road in Hilton. Tickets for unreserved seating R100 (R50) booked through Hilton Christian Fellowship Church on 033 343 5414; Marshall Music at Cascades on 033 347 5481; Pink Heather Quarry Centre in Hilton on 033 343 1965 and Lazy Lizard at Greendale Centre in Howick on 033 330 4308.

For all enquiries call Ruth on 033 3475464 (h)