ACO to Round out 2017 Season with Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Melbourne – Brisbane – Canberra – Sydney
3-10 December 2017
When the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Choir of London last performed Bach's Christmas Oratorio in 2013, critics and audiences alike declared it the concert of the year, praising the performances as -glorious' (SMH), and -one of the best investments you could make this summer' (The Australian).
Richard Tognetti will once again direct the Oratorio this December, with the Choir of London and evangelist Nicholas Mulroy making a welcome return to join the ACO in five not-to-be-missed concerts of unrepressed joy and profound contemplation.
Bach's Christmas Oratorio is the quintessential Christmas choral extravaganza, and sees the composer at his most exuberant and joyful. It tells the story of the birth of Jesus through six cantatas that move from the Nativity, through to the birth, and the arrival and worship of the Three Kings. The work displays immense variety and colour, illuminating the story and characters surrounding Christ's birth through kaleidoscopic alternations in the forces of instrumentation, soloists and chorus.
Evangelist Nicholas Mulroy will perform as narrator throughout the concerts, singing lines from the gospels of St Luke and St Matthew.
'The Christmas Oratorio is a huge, varied, and enduring body of work from one of the greatest of all human minds," Mulroy says. 'I love the exquisite balancing act that Bach maintains between mathematical rigour and profound humanity, poetry and lyricism – all wrapped in sublime music that is by turns ebullient, contemplative, inventive, and exquisite. The range of expression Bach conveys in this work is astonishing – he makes you dance, then breaks your heart, all within a few bars."
The Choir of London, who most recently performed with the ACO in the 2013 Christmas Oratorio concerts, is an ensemble comprised of Britain's leading choral baroque specialists, professional members of chamber choirs and opera companies, and vocal soloists. The Choir was formed in 2004 when a small ensemble of British singers volunteered to take part in the Palestinian Bach Festival, and has since evolved to become -one of the world's great choirs' (The Australian). Much like the ACO, the Choir of London is renowned as an ensemble of soloists, and will feature outstanding vocalists stepping forward from the ranks for the chorales to perform the Oratorio's solo arias.
Arts Centre Melbourne
Sunday 3 December, 2pm
Monday 4 December, 6.30pm
QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane
Wednesday 6 December, 6.30pm
Llewellyn Hall, Canberra
Friday 8 December, 6.30pm
Sydney Opera House
Sunday 10 December, 2pm
1800 444 444 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm AEST)