Christmas Oratorio | Sunday Observer

Christmas Oratorio

1 December, 2019
Dr. Lalanath de Silva
Dr. Lalanath de Silva

The first ever Sinhala Christmas Oratorio composed and conducted by the well known Sri Lankan composer Dr. Lalanath de Silva will be presented by the Oktave Choir and friends together with the Piccolini children’s choir in association with the Gustav Mahler Orchestra on Wednesday December 11 at St. Paul’s Church, Kynsey Road, Colombo 8. Since the concert is a Morning Concert it will commence at 11 a.m. and as it is a non-working day, all are welcome.

The opening item in the program for the morning will be Antonio Vivaldi’s popular ‘Gloria’ a work written for choir, solo singers and chamber orchestra. Vivaldi considered this composition to be his finest work.

The choir and orchestra will soar to joyful heights providing beautiful and tuneful arias. Three of Sri Lanka’s best singers Anagi Perera - soprano, Peshali Yapa - mezzo soprano and Rachael Halliday - mezzo soprano will be featured in this performance. The well recognised organist Neranjan de Silva will play continuo in the Vivaldi.

Dr. Lalanath de Silva’s Christmas Oratorio ‘The good news’ was composed in 1976 when he was 17 years old, and it took him over a period of one month to complete it as it was for a large orchestra, chorus and soloist. The work was premiered in 1977 by the Symphony Orchestra and chorus of Sri Lanka under the baton of Dr. Earle de Fonseka and reperformed in 1985. For this performance on December 11 Dr. de Silva has revised the score.

The Sinhala libretto for the Oratorio was written by the late Fr. Marcelline Jayakody, better known as the pansala piyatuma and a winner of the Magsaysay Award for Literature.

The renowned ethnomusicologist, the late Deva Surya Sena hailed it as a landmark and a remarkable achievement. The oratorio relives the nativity through choruses, music and solos.

The concert will end with a community sing-a-long of Handel’s Hallelujah chorus.