Experience the Baroque festive splendor of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio performed by the Wisconsin Chamber Choir with their professional orchestra, Sinfonia Sacra. Parts 1 to 3 tell the Christmas story: Mary and Joseph, the birth of Jesus, the shepherds, and the angels. Part 5 introduces the magi from the east, traditionally known as the Three Kings.
The music offers a sampling of every style of music in Bach’s repertoire as a composer. Massive, concerto-like movements crowned by brilliant trumpet fanfares, booming timpani, and virtuosic fugues highlight the full chorus, whereas solo arias, duets and trios and even one instrumental movement provide a contemplative contrast with constantly changing instrumental colors—from lush strings to playful flutes and the pastoral sounds of oboes and bassoons.
Featured soloists include mezzo-soprano Rachel Wood and tenor Adam Shelton, both on the faculty of UW-Whitewater. Highly accomplished members of the choir, including baritone Bill Rosholt (a Madison Savoyards regular), will share the solo parts with these professionals. The members of Sinfonia Sacra, under concertmaster Leanne League, are drawn from the rosters of the Madison Symphony, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble, and the music faculties of UW-Madison, UW-Whitewater, and UW-Oshkosh. Trumpet virtuoso John Aley and, oboist Marc Fink.
Founded in 1998, the Wisconsin Chamber Choir has established a reputation for excellence in the performance of oratorios, a cappella works from various centuries, and world premieres. Bach’s music has always occupied a special place in the choir’s repertory, with performances of the Christmas Oratorio (2002 and 2003), the Mass in B minor (2005), the St. John Passion(2010), and the Magnificat(2017). Artistic Director Robert Gehrenbeck has been hailed by critics for his vibrant and emotionally compelling interpretations of a wide variety of choral masterworks.
Advance tickets for the December 14 performance at Luther Memorial Church in Madison are available for $20 ($10 for students) from www.wisconsinchamberchoir.org, via Brown Paper Tickets, or at Orange Tree Imports (Madison) and Willy Street Coop (all three locations in Madison and Middleton).