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Webcast: Watch Handel's Israel in Egypt from McGill University

Chris Maskell

On Thursday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m. ET, watch Handel's Israel in Egypt live from Pollack Hall in Montreal, a production of the Schulich School of Music of McGill University. Scroll down for a list of performers and details on the work.

The concert is a collaborative effort from three ensembles: the McGill Baroque Orchestra (Hank Knox, director), Cappella Antica (Valerie Kinslow, director) and the Schulich Singers (Jean-Sébastien Vallée, director). In a recent email interview, Vallée, who is also director of choral studies at McGill, explained how this production came about:

"Although I’ll be conducting the concert, Hank and Valerie have been very involved in preparing both the Baroque Orchestra and Cappella Antica. They were also both involved in selecting and preparing the soloists. It’s a real collaboration in the sense that it goes further than simply bringing the ensembles together onstage, as it allowed us to share ideas, to discuss the production and to work across areas in a very stimulating manner. Valerie proposed the idea for the concert in my first year teaching at McGill. It got me very excited, and we were sure to make it happen!

"Israel in Egypt tells the story of the exodus and the 10 plagues of Egypt. The music dramatically and vividly depicts the plagues (the flies, the frogs, the water turned into blood, etc.) using double choir and full orchestra. Unlike many of Handel’s other oratorios, this work contains mainly choruses — therefore the storytelling is up to the ensemble members and this makes the preparation and performance of this work very exciting. Moreover, the general themes of the oratorio still speak to us today, as it’s easy to connect with concepts such as the fight for liberty and equality, the doubts and consequences that such a fight may imply and the courage and determination needed to make a difference."



Megan Miceli and Juliana Urban, sopranos
Nicholas Burns, countertenor
Patrick McGill, tenor
Paul Winkelmans and Igor Mostovoi, basses

McGill Baroque Orchestra
Cappella Antica
Schulich Singers

Jean-Sébastien Vallée, conductor


G.F. Handel: Israel in Egypt, HWV 54

Part 1

  • Tenor: “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph”
  • Alto and chorus: “And the children of Israel sighed”
  • Tenor: “Then sent He Moses, His servant, and Aaron, whom He had chosen”
  • Chorus: “They loathed to drink of the river; He turned their waters into blood”
  • Alto: “Their land brought forth frogs ... He gave their cattle to the pestilence
  • Chorus: “He spake the word and there came all manner of flies”
  • Chorus: “He gave them hailstones for rain; fire mingled with the hail”
  • Chorus: “He sent a thick darkness over all the land, which might be felt”
  • Chorus: “He smote all the first-born of Egypt, the chief of all their strength”
  • Chorus: “But for His people, He led them forth like sheep”
  • Chorus: “Egypt was glad when they departed, for the fear fell upon them”
  • Chorus: “He rebuked the Red Sea, and it was dried up”
  • Chorus: “He led them through the deep as through a wilderness”
  • Chorus: “But the waters overwhelmed their enemies”
  • Chorus: “And Israel saw that great work that the Lord did”
  • Chorus: “And believed the Lord and His servant Moses”


Part 2

  • Chorus: “Moses and the children of Israel sung this song unto the Lord”
  • Chorus: “I will sing unto the Lord for He hath triumphed gloriously”
  • Soprano duet: “The Lord is my strength and my song”
  • Chorus: “He is my God and I will prepare Him an habitation”
  • Chorus: “And I will exalt Him; He is my father’s God”
  • Bass duet: “The Lord is a man of war; Lord is His name”
  • Chorus: “The depths have covered them; they sank into the bottom”
  • Chorus: “Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power”
  • Chorus: “And in the greatness of Thine excellency”
  • Chorus: “Thou sentest forth Thy wrath, which consumed them”
  • Chorus: “And with the blast of Thy nostrils the waters were gathered together”
  • Tenor: “And the enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil”
  • Soprano: “Thou didst blow with the wind; the sea covered them”
  • Chorus: “Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the Gods?”
  • Chorus: “The earth swallowed them”
  • Alto and tenor: “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth Thy people”
  • Chorus: “The people shall hear and be afraid; sorrow shall take hold”
  • Alto: “Thou shalt bring them in and plant them in the mountain”
  • Chorus: “The Lord shall reign forever and ever”
  • Tenor: “For the horse of Pharoah went in with his chariots ... into the sea
  • Chorus: “The Lord shall reign forever and ever”
  • Tenor: “And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel”
  • Soprano and chorus: “Sing ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed”

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