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Jonathan Cohen


Jennifer Johnson Cano


Michael Sumuel


San Francisco Symphony Chorus

San Francisco Symphony


George Frideric Handel


Davies Symphony Hall

Fri, Dec 8, 2023 at 7:30PM

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Davies Symphony Hall

Sat, Dec 9, 2023 at 7:30PM

Buy Now

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Event Description

George Frideric Handel’s Messiah was an instant classic soon after its 1742 premiere and has been a holiday tradition around the world ever since. Through a dramatic series of arias, recitatives, and choruses, Handel offers a musical meditation on Christ’s birth, life, and resurrection—and his message of redemption. Jonathan Cohen leads the SF Symphony and Chorus in this perennial favorite.


These concerts are supported in part by the James Schwabacher Vocal Artists Fund and the Brian P. McCune & Darlene P. Vian Fund for Vocal Performance.

At A Glance

George Frideric Handel’s Messiah premiered in Dublin in April 1742. Originally presented as an Easter oratorio, it gradually became more closely associated with Christmastime, and today performances are a winter holiday tradition for orchestras and choruses throughout the world.
The text was adapted for Handel by Charles Jennens (1700–73), who creatively assembled passages from the King James Bible and Book of Common Prayer into a three-part libretto. Part One includes the prophecy of Christ’s birth and the Nativity story, including such highlights as “For unto us a Child is born.” Part Two tells of his life on earth and the spreading of his message by the Apostles, ending with the famous “Hallelujah” chorus. Part Three focuses on the response of believers and the promise of salvation, with the aria and trumpet solo “The trumpet shall sound” and a glorious Amen.

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