Desperation is the source of inspiration, they say, and nowhere is this better illustrated than in the case of Handel's Messiah. In 1741, the 56-year-old composer was debt-ridden and in the throes of depression when he sat down and banged out what was to become the world's most famous and beloved oratorio in just 24 days. Messiah (that's actually the correct name, without the “the”) premiered in Dublin, Ireland, the following year, but it almost didn't get off the ground, thanks to production difficulties and the meddling of the Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, the one and only Jonathan Swift, who temporarily canceled the premiere while he haggled with Handel over the name of the work and the charitable distribution of the concert's proceeds. But thankfully, Messiah hit the ground running on April 13, 1742, and has been a favorite of audiences ever since. If you missed last week's Messiah Sing-Along with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, you can still get your Messiah thrills; this weekend, Grant Gershon leads the Chorale in a concert performance of the work featuring soloists Elissa Johnston, Adriana Manfredi, John Lee Keenan and Vincent Robles. At Walt Disney Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Sat., Dec. 22, 7:30pm; $29-$134, student rush available two hours before perf. (213) 972-7282,

Sat., Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m., 2012

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.