When: Sat., Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Jan. 15, 3 p.m. 2017
This annual tribute to Martin Luther King can be counted on to turn up the heat in the exquisite Auditorium Theatre. A trio of megatalented vocalists—soprano Alfreda Burke, mezzo-soprano Karen Marie Richardson, and, especially, tenor Rodrick Dixon—complemented by a jazz combo, full orchestra, 100-voice choir, and the flying fingers of solo pianist Alvin Waddles present a contagiously joyous jazz, gospel, and blues treatment of George Frideric Handel’s famous 18th-century oratorio, biblical text and all. Conceived by Marin Alsop in the early 1990s—before she became music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra—and arranged/composed by Bob Christianson and Gary Anderson, the performance transports the sedate and celestial baroque original into swing, scat, and R&B territory, putting the glory into the Glory of the Lord and pulling the audience out of their seats. You’ve never heard Handel like this.