Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Concert on 22 November: Christmas Oratorio

Stained glass window.Don't miss the performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on Saturday 22 November, at 7:30pm in the Dunedin Town Hall.

Conductor: David Burchell
* Nicola Edgecombe (soprano)
* Kate Spence (mezzo soprano)
* John Murray (tenor)
* Chris Bruerton (bass)

supported by the Southern Sinfonia

Unlike his Passion settings and the oratorios of his contemporary, Handel, Bach conceived the Christmas Oratorio as a set of six cantatas to be performed on separate days over the Twelve Days of Christmas, beginning on Christmas Day and ending on Epiphany (January 6).

As with his Passion settings, the Evangelist (tenor soloist) carries the narrative, using familiar Gospel texts. The other soloists perform dramatic roles, such as the Angel and Herod, and also sing arias which reflect on the significance of the story.
The chorus contributes the parts of 'the heavenly host', the shepherds and the Wise Men, as well as chorales and extended choruses which are the corner stones of the cantatas.

A little bit of history...

Our archives show that we have performed this work only twice before. Looking at the dates it seems there is a performance roughly once in every generation, so be sure not to miss this opportunity!

12 November 1968, at John McGlashan Chapel, with Judith Galloway (soprano), Ruth Harman (alto), Ross Mayhew (tenor), Maurice Taylor (bass), with the Dunedin Civic Orchestra and conductor Peter Platt.

3 December 1985, in the Dunedin Town Hall with Ainslie Bannister (soprano), Rosemary Turnbull (alto), Anthony Benfell (tenor), Roger Wilson (bass), Vivienne McLean (harpsichord), with the Dunedin Sinfonia and conducted by Ray White.

Don't miss this wonderful music! Tickets are on sale now at Ticketek at the Regent in Dunedin, or online.

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After the concert, please feel free to leave your comments here. Tell us what you thought of the performance, we'd love to hear from you!


Anne Thomson said...

The Christmas Oratorio was fantastic. It is such lovely music - and after actually getting the hang of most of it, please can we perform it again soon, not wait another 20 or 30 years!

One comment from an audience member - the level of lighting in the audiotrium was NOT bright enough to read the programme during the performance. Could that please be passed on to the people who set the lighting levels, so they know that next time, the auditorium lights need to be a few notches brighter?

Leta said...

Thanks for this feedback Anne. Your comment about the lighting levels will be noted for future concerts.

Last night at the committee meeting David said we certainly won't wait that long before performing this work again. He thoroughly enjoyed the Bach, as did we!