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Theatrically Staged Oratorios

Bill Smith, JD

Unlike Messiah, most Handel oratorios tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end, often based on the Bible. Modern stage directors have started to stage these oratorios, the most famous case being Peter Sellars's stunning and moving presentation of Handel's oratorio Theodora in 1997 at the Glyndebourne Festival near London. Theatrically staging an oratorio, with sets, costumes, and movement adds another dimension to this sometimes static art form.

This lecture will discuss the origins of Handel's oratorios and present excerpts from theatrically staged versions of three of them: Theodora, Semele, and Saul. Singers will include Cecilia Bartoli, the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, and David Daniels. Directors will include, of course, Peter Sellars as well as directorial bad-boy Barry Kosky.

Instructor: Bill Smith is a retired attorney and lifelong opera (and oratorio) lover. A longtime member and volunteer contributor to Osher, he currently serves on the Osher Council.

Coordinator: Mavis Porter

Course Number: OSHR-70028   Credit: 0 units


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