‘Messiah’ returns to Palladium


Even if it wasn’t a holiday tradition, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra resident conductor Jacob Joyce views performing “Handel’s Messiah” as a treat.

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra will present “Handel’s Messiah” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. The 2020 performance was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s really special to have it back this year,” said Joyce, who conducted “Messiah” for ISO in 2019. “It’s one of our favorite events of the symphony orchestra. To get to perform at a venue like the Palladium is really fun and exciting. It’s been my experience there is a great crowd that comes out to this concert as well. It’s a holiday favorite. We like to see that the Indiana community really supports the ISO and understands what a world class of an operation they are. I love being a part of it and it’s a really great event for the ISO and, hopefully, for the community as well. 

“In a time when we all could use more joy in our lives. ‘Messiah’ is a musical tradition that has been a source of joy and comfort for centuries.”

The ISO will be joined by the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and four guest soloists. The soloists are Sari Gruber, soprano; Meg Bragle, mezzo-soprano; Miles Mykkanen, tenor; and Nicholas Newton, bass.

“We ensure a powerful presentation of the greatest story ever told, just in time for the holidays,” Joyce said. “The main challenge in any music like ‘Messiah,’ which is from the Baroque era, it requires a different stylistic approach to a lot of symphonic repertoire. The majority of the symphony repertoire is classical, romantic and modern eras. So, when we get the chance to play Baroque era, it’s really fun because it’s a different style of play, but it’s also a stylistic challenge because orchestras like the ISO don’t do as much.

“It requires a different approach from the conductor and from the performers. That’s part of the reason I like it so much because it’s fresh and something we don’t do every day.”

Joyce said the “Messiah” requires a smaller orchestra because it was composed during the Baroque era.

“It’s a reduced string section, some brass players,” Joyce said. “It’s not like  the 70-person ensemble you see on the stage sometimes. It’s one that was used more often in the 18th century when it was composed.”

For tickets, visit thecenterpresents.org. For more, visit indianapolissymphony.org.