The concert that has become a major annual event in Monaco, the Ristretto performance of Handel’s Messiah at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, once again excelled itself on Saturday, December 9.

Conductor and Musical Director Errol Girdlestone was in no doubt that this year’s packed-out concert “might be the best yet,” although many of us present in the audience last year were especially touched by the fact that on that occasion Errol played the harpsichord as well as conducting the orchestra, choir and soloists.

Tenor Gavan Ring in full voice

Soprano Elenor Bowers-Jolley has an extensive international record, and this was her seventh consecutive appearance in the Monte-Carlo production. Simon Bailey, born in England and now resident in Frankfurt, has also performed widely, and is recognised as one of the most versatile bass-baritones of his generation. Gavan Ring, tenor, is another international star to grace St. Paul’s, with recent appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms. Clint van Der Linde, countertenor, studied at the Royal College of Music in London and has toured as a soloist with orchestras throughout the US, Europe, and the Far East.

Teamwork is key

The choir, comprised of mainly local singers, performed brilliantly, especially since several of its members were off sick with winter illnesses.

Once again, all the strands were brought together by the indomitable Errol Girdlestone, who, as usual, had worked assiduously over several months to make it all happen.


PHOTOS: The authors