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Händel’s Messiah First Performed in Dublin 8


Händel’s Messiah First Performed in Dublin 8

Dublin 8 is a place with many secrets and one of the biggest kept secrets I have come across recently must be Georg Friedrich Händel performing the Messiah for the first time on the 13th of April 1742, in The Great Music Hall of the old tavern, called the Bull’s Head.
The tavern is now known as The Bull and The Castle and is situated where Fishamble Street meets Lord Edward Street, on the corner of Christchurch Place. Fishamble Street used to be called St John’s Street back in 1577.
The Great Music Hall first opened its doors to music lovers in 1741, making Händel one of the very first composers to perform there. It was also used for other gatherings before that to entertain city guilds and bodies.
At the performance of Messiah there was an audience of around 700 attending. It was a grand affair; the lords and ladies were asked to show their respect for the Messiah, by leaving their swords at home and not to wear hoops in their dresses.
A series of six concerts were being performed by Händel at The Great Music Hall in Dublin during the winter of 1741-1742. He came to Dublin by invitation and surprised the Dublin audience with his never before performed oratorio, Messiah.
After delivering the series of concerts, Messiah was performed as a charitable concert, to benefit prisoners’ debt relief, the Mercer’s Hospital and the Charitable Infirmary. The concert made £400 that was shared by the three charities and 142 indebted prisoners were released.
The messiah was performed again before Händel left Dublin, on the 3rd of June 1742. He used the St Patrick’s and Christ Church boys and men choirs with two women soloists in Messiah.
Händel was born on the 23 February 1685 in Germany and died on the 14th April 1759 at the age of 74, in London. He was a Baroque composer who composed anthems, organ concertos, operas and oratorios.
Even though Messiah was originally thought of as an oratorio that should be played during Easter and Lent, as it was the first time it was performed, it is also enjoyed during Christmas, because it tells the story of Jesus’ birth.
It was Charles Jennens who asked Händel to create music for the Scriptures from the King James Bible, which Händel finished for him in only 24 days, but even though it was Jennens desire that the Messiah be performed in London, it was here in Dublin 8 that Händel had it performed for the first time. Messiah comes in three parts and consists of scriptures from the Old and New Testaments.
St Patricks’s Cathedral performed Messiah over the weekend and St Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Marlborough Street will be performing this master piece on Thursday the 17th December 2015 from 8pm to 11pm. Tickets to Messiah will cost you €19.72. You can buy them online at

One Response

  1. Sandy Boletchek says:

    Thank you for sharing!!!

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