Just in time for Easter, Jonathan Leshnoff’s Hope: An Oratorio celebrates mankind’s universal journey from the throes of abandonment to the revival of hope.
The definition of an oratorio is:
a large-scale musical work for orchestra and voices, typically a narrative on a religious theme, performed without the use of costumes, scenery, or action. Well-known examples include Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, and Haydn’s The Creation.
Using the traditional oratorio form as a base, Leshnoff transcends all traditional boundaries by creating an epic piece that is alternately lyrical and lively, toe-tapping and dramatic. HOPE brings together voices and languages not typically heard together – a classical soprano and tenor, a male jazz singer, and a female vocalist-performance artist – creating exciting new modes of vocal expression.
From ethereal writing for children’s voices to a climax that will literally shake the rafters as the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ reaches its extreme registers, HOPE embraces people of all spiritual beliefs. This sacred work will feature texts from a variety of spiritual and worldly sources and will be sung in several languages. The audience will be taken on a journey that is common to all humans – beginning in doubt, moving to a reflective middle passage, and ultimately finding peace.
Tomorrow (yes, tomorrow!), April 24 at 3 p.m. will premier this unique piece, introducing the collaboration of The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Roberto Minczuk conducting, and featuring four soloists, including Sussan Deyhim and award-winning jazz vocalist and composer David Linx. They will be joined by the Pennsylvania Girlchoir and the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia.
Stay tuned for more live coverage and impressions of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts through May 1, supported by PIFA.