April 13, 1742

On this day in 1742, Handel’s Messiah premiered in Dublin to an audience of 700. The premiere was the culmination of a season of concerts performed during the winter of 1741–1742. The idea originally came about by an invitation from the Duke of Devonshire, who was then serving as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Both St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral had permitted Handel access to their choirs, a combined total of 16 men and 16 boy choristers, for the occasion. The concert was performed for charity – proceeds were divided between prisoners’ debt relief, the Mercer’s Hospital, and the Charitable Infirmary.

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