The combination of a Broadway singer and actress, one of Britain’s best-loved actors, four members of the Metropolitan Opera, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square and Bells on Temple Square made for an “extraordinary moment.” British actor Martin Jarvis used those words to describe his experience after performing in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, December 17, 2015, in the annual Christmas concert.
During a news conference Friday, December 18, with the major performers along with choir director Dr. Mack Wilberg and choir president Ron Jarrett, Jarvis said he had heard the choir on recordings when he lived in London and seen them more recently on television.
But he “had the thought that I would never have the chance to perform with them.” He called his experience in the performance “an uplifting celebration.”
In addition to the traditional Christmas carols that were sung, during the 90-minute performance by Jarvis, the narrator; Laura Osnes, the Broadway singer and actress; and the four Met performers, the compelling story was told of George Frideric Handel and his experience while writing his most famous composition, the Messiah.
Laura Osnes, when asked if singing with the choir in the Christmas concert was worth all the efforts to rearrange her schedule, said it was. “This is not a sacrifice.”
Costuming for the concert was period clothing from the days of Handel, in the 1600 and 1700s. Former choir member Jerry Graves performed the part of Handel.
A processional of actors and dancers moved down the Conference Center aisles onto the stage as the choir, orchestra and the Bells on Temple Square performed.
The story of Handel’s many challenges in writing his famous oratorio was told through dance, acting and singing pieces of his music.