George Frideric Handel composed The Messiah in 1741, although he continued to make revisions for 13 more years.The work, which includes a libretto that covers the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, was originally performed during Lent. In modern times it is traditionally performed leading up to the Christmas season during Advent. The Royal Melbourne Philharmonic in Melbourne, Australia, holds the record for the most consecutive years performing The Messiah, as they have performed it annually since their founding in 1853. Find great Messiah tickets above.
According to Wikipedia, "In the Christian tradition, the figure of the Messiah or redeemer is identified with the person of Jesus, known by his followers as the Christ or Jesus Christ. [...] Handel's Messiah begins with God's promises as spoken by the prophets and ending with Christ's glorification in heaven. In contrast with most of Handel's oratorios, the singers in Messiah do not assume dramatic roles, there is no single, dominant narrative voice, and very little use is made of quoted speech.
The three-part structure of the work approximates to that of Handel's three-act operas, with the parts subdivided by Jennens into scenes. Each scene is a collection of individual numbers or movements which take the form of recitatives, arias and choruses."