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Messiah and Portsmouth: Then and Now Exhibition at St Mary's Church, Portsea

Impact: Cultural & Creative Impacts, Public Discourse Impacts

Description of impact

This exhibition frames the performance of Messiah (in the version given in Portsmouth in 1812) on March 18 2017 in terms of the context for the performance and the Practice-as-Research agenda associated with it.

Who is affected

General public


The exhibition presents the background research that supports the Practice-as-Research concert of Messiah that will take place on 18 March 2017 in St. Mary's Church, Portsea. It also points towards the research questions that will be addressed in that concert. The concert will present a version of Messiah that was given in Portsmouth in August 1812 and results from my discovery of a wordbook to that performance and associated archival and contextual research. The 1812 performance was distinctive for a number of reasons but predominantly because a prima donna, Angelica Catalani, exerted her authority as a diva over Messiah. Thus the performance offers a Practice-as-Research engagement with the questions: How can such "diva disruption" be effected in a recreation of the monumental version of Messiah that was offered in Portsmouth in 1812? Is the tension between textual authenticity and performed authority palpable to a contemporary audience?

Category of impact

  • Cultural & Creative Impacts
  • Public Discourse Impacts

ID: 5488080