| SITE RATING:
Like so many other attempts to "modernize" Handel's great
baroque oratorio, Frank McNamera's starry, glossy "Young Messiah"
manages to infuse nothing worthwhile to the legacy of Messiah, instead coming off as
cheap, tacky, and ill-conceived. Released in 2006, and shown on
PBS stations in the United States, this production managed to create a
small amount of controversy due to IR£700,000 being spent on the project (the
committee who authorized the funds thought that they would make money
from the project, rather than allowing that the project had any
intrinsic artistic value), and charges of "musical sacrilege" being
leveled against it. Viewing it now, I can think of many other
instances of sacrilege that far outweigh this trifling performance, but
it's greatest sins are unquestionably the synthesized drums which
tinnily adorn every chorus, the clashing styles of the gospel and
classical choirs, actor Aiden Quinn's stilted, self-conscious
narration, the flat, careless vocals by the Irish Philharmonic Chorus,
and Roger Daltrey and Chaka Khan's "what-were-they-thinking" solos.
I could go on about the hideous costumes, the Vegas-style sets
and lighting, and the blank stares on most of the participants, but
suffice to say that this misguided attempt to bring Messiah to the masses feels leaden,
is often painful to listen to and watch, and is a woe-begotten mismatch
of clashing styles.