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Saturday 16 December 2023

7:30pm at Hamer Hall

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Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Sir James MacMillan conductor
Kathryn Radcliffe soprano
Christopher Tonkin baritone
MSO Chorus
Warren Trevelyan-Jones chorus director


James MacMillan Christmas Oratorio
Australian premiere of an MSO Co-commission with The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra.

About this performance

Celebrate the season with a new landmark work from one of the greatest composers of our time.

Scottish composer Sir James MacMillan’s Christmas Oratorio was written throughout 2019 and completed in early January 2020. With initial performances cancelled due to global lockdowns, this Oratorio bursts happily back onto stages this Christmastime.

Called a “rich and prodigious invention” by the Financial Times, MacMillan’s Oratorio is a full-scale nativity work that collates texts from a number of different sources: The King James Bible, Latin hymnals, and poems from 16th and 17th century poets Robert Southwell, John Donne, and John Milton.

MacMillan’s score is impressively cast – soprano and baritone soloists will feature in front of the full MSO Chorus, with the Orchestra boasting double woodwind, brass and percussion, as well as the joyful strains of harp and celeste.

The composer has sources of inspiration in many places for this large-scaled work: from the rhythms of secular Christmas carols to the stately solo arias of traditional oratorio.

Duration: approx. 2 hours including interval

“There are… moments of joyfulness and the childhood excitement and abandon of Christmas at various points.”

-Sir James MacMillan

"MacMillan has written a masterpiece of uncommon and piercing power"

-The Sunday Times

Listen to MacMillan's Christmas Oratorio

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