Local ‘Messiah’ Performance to Air Twice

By LORETTA FULTON

After a year’s absence, the Abilene Opera Association is bringing back Handel’s Messiah, with two televised performances.

Messiah will air at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, on KTXS (ABC) and at 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, on KXVA (Fox). The performances are a recording of the live production that was presented in 2019 at the Paramount Theatre. 

The decision not to stage a live production this year was made when health professionals were predicting another COVID outbreak for December, said Arlieta Jones, association president. If the production had been held, masks would have been required in the Paramount, which association members didn’t think would go over well with local audiences.

“We weren’t willing to mandate masks,” Jones said, because of a feared lack of attendance. 

Since the association won’t benefit from ticket sales this year, sponsors have stepped up to cover costs. Their names will be featured during the televised performances. 

Abilene Opera Association flier www.abileneopera.org

The 2019 performance that will air this year features the Abilene Chamber Singers, founded by Clell Wright, and a live orchestra under the direction of David Itkin, director of the Abilene Philharmonic. Soloists are Jennifer Youngs, Lynnette Chambers, Samuel Cook, and Jeffery Snider. 

An upside to the televised performances, rather than live, is that people who haven’t been to an opera performance may tune in. And, they may like what they see and hear well enough to attend a live performance in the future. 

“We hope to be live again next year,” Jones said. 

Loretta Fulton is creator and editor of Spirit of Abilene

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