Did you know that George Frideric Handel originally composed the Messiah as an Easter offering?. I hadn't realized that until I did some research.
The Messiah burst onto the stage of Musick Hall in Dublin on April 13, 1742. The audience grew to a record 700. Ladies were asked by management to wear dresses "without Hoops" in order to make "Room for more company." Handel was not the only draw; many also came to glimpse the contralto, Susannah Cibber, then embroiled in a scandalous divorce.
The men and women in attendance sat enthralled from the moment the tenor followed the string overture with his poignant opening line: "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God." Soloists alternated with wave upon wave of chorus, until, near the midway point when the words "He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" were sung. So moved was the Rev. Patrick Delany that he leapt to his feet and cried out: "Woman, for this be all thy sins forgiven thee!"
The Hallelujah chorus is perhaps the most well-known of the three part work as Handel quotes from the Prophet Isaiah in describing Christ: Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God ...
More than 250 years after Handel composed his masterpiece, audiences still thrill to the moving music and words.