Bach: The Last Resort

Bach’s rich musical legacy as we know it today is partly the result of a historical accident. When he applied for the position of Kantor at Leipzig’s Thomaskirche in 1722, Bach was only third choice for the post. Telemann turned the offer down after some deliberation and Graupner was not released from his post of Kapellmeister in Hesse. ‘Since we cannot get the best, then we will have to settle for average’, the Council concluded, as it handed the title to Bach. Join us as we step back in time and explore the programme that Bach put together for this fateful application, a move that would shape the history of western music for centuries to come.

Matthew Passion

From the intractable swell of the opening chorus to the profound solemnity of the last, its tone one of quiet resignation, the Matthew Passion is a work with the power to move us like no other. Bach conceived it on a grand scale, allowing for double chorus and double orchestra, and the themes it explores are just as monumental too. How each of us, of all faiths and none, can find joy and hope even amidst the depths of sorrow.

We welcome Trevor Pinnock, a towering figure of the early music movement, to Dunedin Consort for the first time. He will conduct the work in its original format of one voice per part.

Handel: Apollo & Daphne

In the years before his reputation as the opera composer du jour was forged, Handel poured his creativity into a series of increasingly adventurous cantatas, among the most ambitious of which is Apollo and Daphne. Inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, this ancient fable finds striking parallels with modern day power struggles, as Daphne fights to resist Apollo’s advances and transforms herself into a laurel tree, her branches watered forever by his tears. This extraordinary tale of passion and penitence is rendered by Handel in music of searing intensity, its rapturous obbligato writing by turns, playful, poignant and seductive.


When Handel’s Messiah was first unveiled to the public in 1742, it caused a sensation. Dublin’s Musick Hall was so full that the men attended ‘without swords’ and the ladies were asked to wear skirts ‘without hoops’ to make room for more listeners. The press declared a triumph: ‘The Sublime, the Grand, and the Tender… conspired to transport and charm the ravished Heart and Ear.’ More than 250 years on, it still holds a remarkable place in the repertoire, its ability to delight and enthral virtually unparalleled, its powerful choruses and exquisite solo writing together creating a score that is as fresh and inspiring as ever.

Bring your children to a short performance at 3pm specially designed for them.

Children’s Messiah

Fun for all the family is guaranteed in our interactive 45-minute concerts specifically devised for children which will include all the best tunes from Handel’s Messiah. You can even expect an appearance from Handel himself to introduce his most famous melodies…!

No age restriction. Adults with tickets to the evening performance of Handel’s Messiah go free to this event.