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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I can recall a time when J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos and a few oratorios by G. F. Handel were all a classical music aficionado needed to know about “early music,” but Ruben Valenzuela’s Bach Collegium San Diego brings international standards of today’s period music performance to San Diego. Their most recent outing was a celebration of German Baroque choral music of J.S. Bach and his Leipzig predecessors . . .

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