John Adams' 'El Niño' From the Spoleto Festival USA

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

John Adams's 'El Niño' From the Spoleto Festival USA. John Adams's 'El Niño' From the Spoleto Festival USA. (William Struhs)
Operavore

John Adams, Pulitzer Prize-winner and arguably America's best-known living composer, describes "El Niño" as, "my way of trying to understand what is meant by a miracle." This sweeping setting of the Christmas story is both freshly contemporary and filled with ancient traditions, including medieval carolers, Latin American poets and an ethereal children's chorus. As The New York Times put it, "'El Niño' bears so many gifts that the senses stagger under the load."

From the start, "El Niño" was conceived as more than a traditional oratorio. At the premiere in Paris in 2000, there were costumes, subtle stagings and even a movie projected at the back of the stage.

On World of Opera, host Lisa Simeone brings us a fully staged production from the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, with the expansive stage of the Memminger Auditorium often bathed in ethereal starlight. Along with the Festival Orchestra, the performance features six vocal soloists and the Westminster Choir, all led by conductor Joe Miller.

Listen to World of Opera on the Operavore on stream each week here at WQXR.org. The program streams Thursdays at 4pm, Saturdays at 5pm and Sundays at 1pm.

Cast:

Caitlyn Lynch, soprano
Erica Brookhyser, mezzo-soprano
Daniel Bubeck, countertenor
Brian Cummings, countertenor
Steven Rickards, countertenor
Mark Walters, baritone

Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra
Westminster Choir
Joe Miller, conductor

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