From the Sheffield Telegraph, December 8th 2011:
‘As I closed my eyes to listen to this performance of Messiah, I was convinced I had travelled back to the Dublin premiere in 1742, such was the stylistic integrity displayed by the soloists, choir and orchestra alike.
The soloists were soprano Philippa Hyde, who performed admirably, especially confronted with virtuoso passagework; mezzo-soprano Alison Hudson, whose mellow tone was fitting; tenor Stephen Liley, who sang with a controlled, pure sound; and the tremendously powerful bass Alex Ashworth.
Obviously inspired by the classy soloists, I have never heard the Bach Choir sounding so good, they projected magnificently and were clearly well rehearsed.
The National Festival Orchestra provided a wonderful accompaniment with the solo trumpeter, Jamie O’Brien, manfully handling the famous number. The conductor, Simon Lindley, chose nothing but exciting tempi and the audience responded with a deserved standing ovation. Bravo!’
I know it is unfair to single out any one person from that performance, but Alex Ashworth was simply superb. A thoroughly enjoyable evening.