Diocese of York

The story of the Israelites’ escape from servitude in Egypt will be told again when York Musical Society (YMS) is joined by the Saint Michael’s Singers from Coventry Cathedral.

The two choirs will join forces for a performance of Handel’s mighty oratorio, Israel in Egypt.

Drawn mainly from Exodus and the Psalms in the Old Testament of the Bible, the 280-year-old work tells how Moses was able to lead the Israelites out of Egypt after God sent frogs, flies,lice, locusts, hailstones and darkness, turned water into blood, killed cattle and all the Egyptians’ first-born children to force the Egyptians to let them go.

Large choruses and thrilling music describe the chaos, including the parting of the Red Sea.

Saint Michael’s Singers last sang with YMS in November 2014 when they together presented an outstanding Verdi’s Requiem at both York Minster and Coventry Cathedral.

Six soloists, two sopranos, a countertenor, a tenor and two baritones will add to the drama and force of Handel’s story.

Handel’s Messiah may be his best-known work, but his other operas and oratorios meant that he enjoyed huge popularity during his lifetime. By 1857 there was a Handel Festival which became a regular event and ensured that his work remained part of the national music scene, as it still is.

The 1857 Handel Festival had a choir of 2,000 and an orchestra of 40 and Israel in Egypt had its own dedicated day during the Festival.

YMS conductor David Pipe says:

“Israel in Egypt is considered to be Handel’s most ambitious work. With its huge choruses – often scored for eight parts – and six soloists, it does justice to a well-known and dramatic story.”

Tickets are available through York Theatre Royal box office tel: 01904 623568, yorktheatreroyal.co.uk or in person or through the York Minster website or on the door on the night.

Tickets are priced at £5, £10, £15 and £20, plus concessions.

Soloists are Ruth Holton (soprano), Julie Cooper (soprano), Nicholas Hariades (countertenor), Nathan Vale (tenor), Richard Bannan (baritone) and Jonathan Sells (baritone).

The Saint Michael’s Singers are based at Coventry Cathedral and number about 90 auditioned singers. They perform a wide range of material, including specially commissioned new works.The conductor will be David Pipe, who is Director of the Organists Training Programme and Cathedral Organist for the Diocese of Leeds. He was formerly Assistant Director of Music at York Minster.