FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 12, 2022


 REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN:  The Regina Symphony Orchestra (RSO) is celebrating this festive season with a musical, holiday tradition.    Handel’s Messiah returns to the Knox Metropolitan United Church on Saturday, December 17 at 7:30 pm featuring four guest soloists and the new Regina Symphony Chamber Chorus.

Music Director for the RSO Gordon Gerrard will conduct the long-time holiday tradition of Handel’s Messiah, one that has part of the Regina Symphony calendar since 1908.  “Christmas is a wonderful time to experience with the symphony,” said Gerrard, “Gathering our community together to celebrate with music that is tied to so many traditions is a special honour for us”.

The group of soloists are Angela Gjurichanin, soprano; Catherine Daniel, mezzo soprano; Thomas Glenn, tenor and Dominic Veilleux, bass-baritone.  This year, the RSO will be joined by the newly formed Regina Symphony Chamber Chorus.  The Chamber Chorus is made up of local singers who completed voice placements with the RSO Chorus Director, Dorianna Holowachuk.  This choir performed at the RSO Christmas Concert on December 10 and will also be part of the larger RSO Chorus who will be performing Brahms Requiem in April 2023 at the Conexus Arts Center.

Tickets for Messiah are general admission for $60.  Tickets can be purchased online at and through the RSO Box Office by calling 306-586-9555.





Megan McCormick

Cell/Text 306-596-1833





Founded in 1908, the Regina Symphony Orchestra is a full-scale professional orchestra led by the innovative and exciting Music Director, Gordon Gerrard. The RSO creates compelling live orchestral music experiences that provide a platform for social, cultural and economic transformation across southern Saskatchewan. All RSO Musicians are members of the American Federation of Musicians.




Angela is a Macedonian soprano now residing in London, Ontario. She is currently going into her final year of MMUs. in Performance and Literature at Western University under the tutelage of coloratura soprano Jackalyn Short.  She had the privilege to perform the role of Nella from Gianni Schicchi by Puccini with the Opera Workshop at Western in March, 2021 and she joined them again in performing Adina from L’elisir d’amore by Donizetti in March, 2022.  She holds a Bachelor of Music Honours from the university of Saskatchewan, and studied with Garry Gable and Kathleen Lohrenz Gable.  She has been a part of summer programs such as Opera NUOVA, ICAV and Against the Grain Theatre’s National Opera Intensive Program.  Angela is honoured to be one of the recipients of the London Opera Guild Scholarship, the Western Graduate Research Scholarship, and a recent winner of the Gordon Wallis Opera Competition.



Career highlights for Ms. Daniel include singing Emelda Griffiths in Grammy award-winner Terence Blanchard’s opera Champion with l’Opéra de Montréal, debuting Klytemnestra in Edmonton Opera’s production of Elektra, singing Elisabetta in Knoxville Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, and debuting at Carnegie Hall as a soloist in Haydn’s Mass in Time of War.  Ms. Daniel made her Opera Tampa debut in Carmen, singing the title role in 2020.  Ms. Daniel studied voice with coloratura soprano Tracy Dahl at the University of Manitoba.  She was a member of the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, and later became a member of the Opera Studio Nederlands in Amsterdam.



Grammy Award winning tenor, Thomas Glenn enjoys a favourable reputation as a creative interpreter of bel canto and Classical period repertoire as well as modern works. His most frequent operatic roles include Count Almaviva in Rossini’s Il Barbiere de Siviglia, Lindoro L’Italiana in Algeri, Ferrando in Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, and the Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. He created the role of Robert Wilson in John Adams’ Doctor Atomic and continues to premiere new works by composers like Jack Perla and Tarik O’Regan.




Praised for his rich voice and his comic and dramatic skills, French-Canadian bass-baritone Dominic Veilleux is an alumnus of the Calgary Opera McPhee Artist Program. Dominic made his debut with Opéra de Québec, he was a member of the much appreciated Brigade lyrique, and sang as D’Estillac (La veuve Joyeuse).  Since then, he has sung the roles of Erster Priester (Die Zauberflöte), Marco (Gianni Schicchi), Fiorello (Le Barbier de Séville), and Marchese d’Obigny (La Traviata).




HANDEL, George Frideric (1685-1759). Messiah, HWV 56

Composed in 1741, George Frideric Handel’s Messiah is one of the few works from the Baroque era that benefited from centuries-long successful publicity, allowing it to adapt to audiences’ mercurial tastes.  Unlike the works of many other Baroque composers, including Bach, many of Handel’s compositions continued to be performed and loved long after his death, particularly in the United Kingdom.


Handel arrived in England permanently in 1712 around the time he received a very lucrative commission from Queen Anne to write a sacred choral composition celebrating the Treaty of Utrecht, which ended the War of the Spanish Succession.  Already a highly successful composer of Italian opera, Handel went on to compose and produce many operas as well as English-language oratorios and anthems.  On top of his musical activities, he started a total of three commercial opera companies to bring Italy’s biggest stars to stages in London.


As the 1730s wore on, several pressures led Handel to move away from Italian opera to sacred choral music.  Not only were opera productions expensive and logistically burdensome, but Handel’s team experienced creative differences with several of the imported artists.  Most famously, a pair of lead sopranos engaged in a physical altercation that included colourful name-calling onstage in front of an audience.  There was also a tranche of concertgoers who were outraged that the same performance venue might host a concert of a spiritual nature one night, and a ribald comic opera the next.


Sensitive to these social tensions, Handel’s original title for Messiah was A Sacred Oratorio, and he agreed to have the premiere take place in Dublin, Ireland, in April 1742 away from the watchful eye of Anglican Bishops.  Nonetheless, both controversy and crowds followed him, and the beleaguered venue staff begged its tickets buyers to please leave their hooped skirts and swords at home.


Although the subject matter for all three parts of Handel’s Messiah better suits Easter programming, its association with Christmas may be due to the large quantity of great music written for Easter.  Without other competing Yuletide sacred works, the niche fit Messiah perfectly.


While many performances have firmly adhered to authenticity, artistic approaches to Messiah have been subject to experimentation over the centuries. A version by Mozart added larger orchestral forces and recreated the libretto in German in 1789.  In 2013 the Mormon Tabernacle Choir released an edition requiring a full symphonic orchestra and a three-hundred-and-sixty-member choir following a century of exploring large-scale Messiah performances with a uniquely American audience in mind.


Faithful Messiah concertgoers are no doubt aware of the tradition of rising to one’s feet for the Hallelujah Chorus, which concludes Part II. Legend has it that King George II stood up at that point in the music during the London premiere, naturally prompting the rest of the audience to do the same.  However, there is no evidence that the King was in attendance, and the simplest explanation is that classical music audiences occasionally experience uncertainty regarding concert decorum.


Program Notes by Tamsin Johnston