Monday, December 21, 2009

Handel's 'Messiah' at the KL Performing Arts Centre

One of the best things about living in Kuala Lumpur is that we have a vibrant and progressive arts scene. While theatre and the arts in Malaysia may not have attained the same glamour or quality as Broadway or West End, our arts scene is still populated with gifted, creative and dynamic personalities and is full of charm and character.

The staging of Handel's "Messiah" at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC) from 17th to 20th December 2009 is testimony both of religious diversity in Malaysia and of the existence of some pretty formidable musical talent in our nation's capital.

I barrelled over to KLPAC after work on Friday, 18th December, to watch the performance. Not being a Christian does not prevent me from enjoying the oratorio. I am certain that the audience that night was a multi-faith one.

The world zipped past me in a blur as I hurried to the Box Office to collect the ticket I had booked by phone.

The warm glow of the Box Office, coupled with the twinkling of festive lights from the Christmas tree in the corner, filled me with cheer and anticipation.

Theatre afficionados milled around the lobby of KLPAC, waiting for the doors of the respective theatres to be opened and for the performances to begin. I finally met up with my companions in Pentas 1.

Guest conducter Paul Baker led the 35-piece KLPAC Orchestra along with a 40-strong choir. My friend Alicia is a soprano in the choir.

Can a secular theatre interpret the Christian doctrine of the Messiah? KLPAC shows that it can!

Theatre and the arts are important to the human experience because they help us connect and empathise with each other, and come to terms with our world in all its complexity. A civilised society should not have to constantly justify its need for, or the existence of, the arts. Science and the arts are not mutually exclusive. Art, especially theatre, helps us explore ourselves and our role in society.

Handel's "Messiah" ended its run in KLPAC on Sunday, but there is a good selection of other performances lined up to tantalise, provoke and entertain you this holiday season.

For more information on what's on, please click

The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC)
Sentul Park
Jalan Strachan
51100 Kuala Lumpur
General Enquiries: (03) 4047 9010
General Facsimile: (03) 4047 9011


louis said...

The various denominations wittingly or not have succeeded in equating religion with organized religions or "churches" or "beliefs". Handel's Messiah, although it uses Biblical references is above that, just as his "Water Music" and "Fireworks" celebrate national power, not just a particular monarch. Those works all appeal to fundamental human yearnings and emotions, not denominations or political blocs so it's not surprising that the Messiah would draw a multi-faith crowd. Happens in this country too.

Over many years I have associated with Malaysians of all the major faiths, I have always found them to be tolerant and open-minded about religion.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Thank you for your edifying comment, Louis! Frankly, I am too much of a phillistine to realise that Handel's Messiah is not exclusively about the life of Christ. After all, I only ever see it performed during Christmas.

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Anonymous said...

Good job!

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Thank you, Anonymous @ 9.26 p.m.!