Dec 16 & 17, 2022 at 7:30pm

Tafelmusik makes the season bright with beloved baroque masterpiece

Toronto, November 2, 2022 … After a two-year hiatus, Handel’s Messiah is back! Nothing conjures the festive season like Tafelmusik’s presentation of this baroque masterpiece. Performances take place on December 16 and 17 at 7:30 pm at Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre. The stellar cast of soloists includes Karina Gauvin, soprano; Christopher Lowrey, countertenor (Tafelmusik debut); Valerio Contaldo, tenor (Tafelmusik debut); and Brett Polegato, baritone. A cherished Toronto holiday tradition since 1981, Tafelmusik’s Messiah is conducted by Ivars Taurins. For tickets and information, visit

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder indeed, and we can promise you that we’ll pour our hearts and souls into every note of this much-awaited return,” says choir director Ivars Taurins. “Handel’s Messiah transcends cultural, geographic, and religious boundaries with its message of charity, peace, and goodwill and features some of the most uplifting and magnificent music ever composed. We can’t wait to gather together to rekindle this annual holiday tradition—one that has been deeply missed over the past two years.”

What Makes Tafelmusik’s Messiah Different?

  • Intimate scale, historically informed performance, emotional depth
    Tafelmusik’s Messiah is presented in the style and spirit of Handel’s own productions. Performed by the orchestra on period instruments and sung by a choir of 23 professional singers specializing in 17th- and 18th-century music, Tafelmusik’s Messiah “radiates brilliance and energy, along with an emotional depth that fully enhances the work’s expression” (AllMusic).
  • Ivars Taurins, Canada’s “Prince of Messiah(Toronto Star)
    No other Canadian conductor has led as many consecutive performances of Messiah as Ivars Taurins, who has conducted Handel’s masterpiece annually for 39 years with Tafelmusik and other orchestras and choirs across the country. As Canada’s go-to expert on all things Messiah, Taurins was invited to explore Handel’s oratorio with writer and broadcaster Robert Harris in Messiah Revealed, a fascinating radio documentary for CBC’s Ideas.  

Why does Handel’s 18th-century oratorio still resonate so powerfully in the 21st century?

Written in just 24 days by a German composer in England, Handel’s Messiah has the power to deeply move people of different backgrounds, faiths, and cultures. A quick YouTube search turns up a wide range of renditions of the Hallelujah chorus, from an Inuit community in Alaska to a congregation in Kuwait.

“Now more than ever, Handel’s Messiah offers solace, an oasis away from the stress of our daily lives. The universality of this work lies in its message of ‘peace on earth, good will towards men,’ and in its themes of enlightenment and understanding, hope and faith, humanity and good will, sacrifice and charity — these are important values that we esteem and strive for, even in our secular world,” says Taurins.

How far has Tafelmusik’s Messiah travelled?

To the moon and back! Well, almost. Over the course of two missions, astronauts aboard the International Space Station enjoyed listening to Tafelmusik’s recording of Messiah.

Closer to home, Tafelmusik’s Messiah has been heard around the world thanks to a live recording of the complete oratorio made in Koerner Hall and released on the Tafelmusik Media label in 2012, followed by a Best of Messiah album in 2014.

A live-performance film of Sing-Along Messiah was released commercially on the Tafelmusik Media label in 2012 and was broadcast regularly on the Bravo!, CTV, and WNED television networks.

Handel Messiah

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir,
Ivars Taurins, director
December 16 and 17, 2022 at 7:30pm                                  
Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, 273 Bloor Street W.
Regular tickets start at $47 and are available at
Both performances will be filmed and the concert film will premiere in Tafelmusik’s Digital Series Pass on December 20, 2022.
A limited number of $20 Tafelscene (19-35 years) tickets will be made available on December 2, and are Will Call only, with valid proof of age ID required at time of pick up.

Tafelmusik gratefully acknowledges the support of BMO, Presenting Sponsor of the 2022/23 concert season, of our government partners, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and of Media Partner The New Classical 96.3 FM.

Tafelmusik is an orchestra, choir, and experience that celebrates beauty through music of the past. Founded over 40 years ago on the pillars of passion, learning, and artistic excellence, Tafelmusik continues to bring new energy to baroque music and beyond. Historically informed performances of 17th- to 19th-century instrumental and choral music share the stage with vibrant, insightful multimedia programs, and bold new music written just for the group. Each piece is played on period instruments, underscored and illuminated by scholarship.

Through dynamic performances, international touring, award-winning recordings, and comprehensive education programs, Tafelmusik invites audiences to engage with beauty and experience the breadth of emotion music can inspire.

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Media contact: Luisa Trisi, Big Picture Communications | 427 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1X7