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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Ruben Valenzuela’s Bach Collegium San Diego gave an electric performance of J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio Friday (December 14) in the capacious sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church of San Diego. Sung in German by a strong 19 member chorus, accompanied by a fleet 25-piece period instrument ensemble, and guided by Artistic Director Valenzuela’s acute sense of Baroque period performance practice, this concert brought the audience amazingly close to Bach’s musical world.

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