Messiah, Handel's oratorio celebrating the arrival of Jesus Christ the Saviour, is a perennial favourite in England and the United States. At Christmas time, particularly, every year sees a raft of performances, ranging from amateur choirs up to the best choirs in the land. In Australia, the Melbourne Philharmonic has performed the Messiah every year in the 157 years since it was formed.
The work's première was in Dublin on 13th April 1742. Twelve years later, in 1754, a historically important performance was the 1754 benefit concert for the Foundling Hospital, which Handel co-founded. By then, Messiah had been much revised and had reached the form commonly played today.