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Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra performs rarely heard “Foundling Hospital Version” of Handel’s Messiah

Dianne Provenzano
Marketing & Communications Director
(415) 252-1288 x 315


November 6, 2015, San Francisco – At a time when just about every orchestra in the bay area performs Handel’s “Messiah” for the holidays, Nicholas McGegan shows us that he and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra like to do things just a little bit differently. On December 19 Philharmonia will be performing Handel’s final “Foundling Hospital” version of “Messiah.”

As an early music scholar, McGegan has studied the various versions of Messiah and has selected the one that J.S. Bach himself performed in the final years of his life.

“George Frideric Handel was a strong supporter of the Foundling Hospital in London during the 1750s. In the later years of his life, Handel performed “Messiah” in the hospital chapel annually as a fundraiser for the organization. Minor edits continued throughout these performances and are considered the composer’s last thoughts on “Messiah.” He left this final manuscript to the hospital, which still owns it today,” says McGegan.

“If you are most familiar with the standard edition of Messiah we hope you will be delighted to note the slight variations in the vocal performance. The Foundling Hospital version more heavily features the soprano.”

Guest soloist and soprano Amanda Forsythe joins PBO along with Meg Bragle, Isaiah Bell, Philip Cutlip and Philharmonia Chorale to perform this rare “Foundling Hospital” version.

Combined with historically-informed performances on period instruments and the effervescent direction of Nic McGegan, “Messiah with McGegan” will offer a fresh and joyful expression of this traditional masterpiece the way Handel would have played it to benefit the foundlings at the end of his life.

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra will perform Handel’s “Messiah” – The Foundling Hospital version – on December 19 at First Congregational Church in Berkeley.

Tickets start at $25. For more information about this and other 2015-16 Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra concerts, visit For tickets, visit or call 415-392-4400.

The 2015-16 season celebrates the 35th anniversary of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the 30th anniversary of Nicholas McGegan as music director.

Philharmonia continues its partnership with Classical KDFC, broadcasting an unreleased live concert recording the second Sunday of every month from 8-9 PM. Classical KDFC is the radio home of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

LINK: Read about the Foundling Hospital (Wikipedia) here.


WHO: Nicholas McGegan and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale

PHOTOGRAPHY: (Click to download)

Amanda Forsythe

WHAT: Concert Performance

Messiah with McGegan


Handel: Messiah (Foundling Hospital version)

PRICE: Starting at $25- $105

TICKETS: Single tickets at City Box Office 415-392-4400 or


Saturday, December 19 @ 7:00 p.m.

First Congregational Church, Berkeley

Short Description:

Nicholas McGegan, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the Philharmonia Choral perform Handel’s rarely played “Foundling Hospital” version of “Messiah” with guest artists Amanda Forsythe, Meg Bragle, Isaiah Bell and Philip Cutlip. Hear Handel’s final thoughts on “Messiah” as he performed them during the final years of his life.