The December 22, 2019, performance by the Bach Collegium San Diego of G. F. Handel’s complete “Messiah” in the Baker-Baum Concert Hall of the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla benefited greatly from the new hall’s splendid acoustics, high ceiling and clean sight lines. Of even greater import, the Bach Collegium’s fresh, insightful approach to 18th-century period performance practice gave it uncanny communicative powers to a 21st-century audience.

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When the San Diego Early Music Society brought the Baltimore Consort to La Jolla in 2016, their soprano Danielle Svonavec made a strong impression. Her vivacious vocal interpretations and outgoing stage presence enlivened Baltimore’s accomplished but rather staid instrumental quintet. But the addition of the dramatic countertenor José Lemos to the Baltimore roster has clearly raised the ensemble to the next level, and his participation helped make Baltimore’s Saturday La Jolla concert A Glorious Light! one of the more exciting early music programs I have encountered.

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