Handel’s much-loved masterpiece Messiah is to be performed by St Albans Choral Society with Orchestra Nova in St Albans Cathedral on April 21 at 7.30pm. 

The love affair that British classical music audiences have with Messiah is a something of a phenomenon, as choirs of all sizes have regularly performed the work since its premiere in Dublin in 1742. 

Handel’s ability to capture the mood – from passionate rage to serene pastoral moments – is what makes this one of the most enduring choral works of all time. Moving solo arias are interspersed with inspiring choruses, telling the story of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection, and his final victory over sin and death.

The somewhat forgotten genius behind the success of Messiah was librettist Charles Jennens, who freely adapted the words of the King James Bible for arias such as Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion and The Trumpet Shall Sound, and choruses including All We Like Sheep and, of course, Hallelujah. 

The soloists will be Helen-Jane Howells, soprano, William Purefoy, countertenor, Christopher Bowen, tenor, and Alexander Ashworth, baritone. George Vass conducts. 

St Albans Cathedral, St Albans AL1 1BY. Details: stalbanscathedral.org