Christmas show to usher in holiday season in Downey

Chad Berlinghieri outside the Downey Theatre. Photo by Alex Dominguez.

Chad Berlinghieri outside the Downey Theatre. Photo by Alex Dominguez.

DOWNEY – A cast of internationally renowned singers will bring a very special performance to the Downey Theater this holiday season.


Cathedral Productions will showcase George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah,” one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.


Leading the production is Artistic Director Chad Berlinghieri, who is an international opera singer with a seasoned background and resume.


“I started singing in high school, passed that I did my undergraduate work at Chapman University. Then I went into Opera Pacific and did a post-graduate artist diploma which is kind of like getting a masters degree in performance. That was on the main stage in a 3,200-seat house, I ended up staying there for 15 years.”


Berlinghieri has also performed as a guest at the Hollywood Bowl, at the Cincinnati Opera, and other major opera venues within the United States and internationally.


As he enters the Downey market, Berlinghieri brings with him other talented and accredited singers.


“I have soloists coming in from all over the country. My baritone is coming in from Carnegie Hall the week before,” said Berlinghieri. “These singers are really first class. I think the Downey audience is in for a real treat.”


The All-American Boys Chorus will also be featured.


This is the sixth time that Berlinghieri has produced “The Messiah.”


“It’s not just The Messiah, it’s the Christmas portion of The Messiah,” said Berlinghieri. 
“This concert is two 45-minute halves with a 20-minute intermission. The first half of the concert is kind of your feel-good, family-style, all your Christmas greatest hits portion…The second half is the Christmas portion of the Messiah, the 45-minute version with the hallelujah chorus on the end.”


‘What’s special about that is if you’re affiliated with a church in any way, you’ll recognize the text from The Messiah. It will be spoken from the pulpit that day on Sunday, as we are in advent during that time; we’re preparing ourselves for Christ’s coming, his birth…”


Berlinghieri has been making the rounds to Downey’s many service clubs and organizations to promote the show, as well as continuing to collaborate with Downey Theatre staff to make sure the show is a success.


“I’ve been working with the staff at the Downey Theatre. They’ve been very helpful,” said Berlinghieri. “We are on track; sales have begun…This is the first time that The Messiah has ever happened in the Downey Theatre, so we want to make sure that it has a proper audience. Something special is coming and we want to make sure the community knows about it.”


This performance may also open the door for future opportunities.


“Whenever I go into some place I always say I’m never here for a ‘one and done, take the money and run.’ I’m always looking to build long term relationships,” said Berlinghieri. 


“I hope to continue to build that relationship as well with all the partnering artistic entities that are already existing here.”


In addition to the performance, a half hour pre-show lecture on Handel’s Messiah will take place at the theatre at 3 p.m. The speaker will be Dr. Kevin St. Clair, Professor at Cal State Dominguez Hills and Director of Music at St. Irenaeus Catholic Church.


The performance will be on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. For ticket information, visit cathedralproductions.org.

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