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<<  -- 2 --  Howard Smith    'MESSIAH' AS NEVER BEFORE

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Five weeks before the historic occasion, Sakhalin's uncommonly revered Governor, Igor Pavlovich Farkhutdinov, and sixteen key ministers of his administration, perished when the Soviet Mi-8 helicopter from which they were surveying the Kanchatka Peninsula to the north, spiralled out of control and crashed.

These men had, without exception, been vital and unstinting supporters of the Pacific Rim Music Festival of which Messiah was the key event. Now they were gone the festival was thrown into disarray and the island plunged into mourning.

A last resting place for helicopter crash victims; former Sakhalin Governor I Farkhutdinov and fellow ministers. © 2003 Howard Smith
A last resting place for helicopter crash victims; former Sakhalin Governor I Farkhutdinov and fellow ministers. © 2003 Howard Smith

In the weeks that followed, piecing Handel's masterpiece together seemed rather like playing outdoor chess at the height of a typhoon.

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Copyright © 27 November 2003 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand

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