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Customer Reviews

A Modern "Messiah"

This beautiful Christmas oratorio is truly one of a kind. El Nino draws text from numerous sources ranging from the pre-Christian prophets to twentieth century Hispanic women writers. The story follows the traditional narrative of the annuciation to Mary, the visit to Elizabeth, the birth and adoration of Jesus, Herod’s massacre of the innocents and the flight into Egypt. The play on words in the title (meaning both "the Christ child" and a phenomenon of nature) is intentional. Modeled on Handel's "Messiah", this work is often forceful and you are constantly aware of the potential climax that it prepares you for. The orchestra creates a wash of sound behind this essentially vocal work and the intelligent instrumentation creates a rich and complex sound (including within it, a number of electronic instruments). Adams' unique use of three countertenors in harmony to portray the Angel Gabriel creates some beautiful moments, especially in 'Hail Mary' and 'the Babe leaped'. This highly theatrical and beautiful work is simply not known well enough. I recommend it highly.


Born: 17 July 1960 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Soprano Dawn Upshaw was born July 17, 1960; she first rose to prominence in 1984 after winning the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and was soon invited to join the studio of the Metropolitan Opera. Upshaw's Met exposure quickly allowed her to assume roles, including Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and both Susanna and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro; in 1986 she made her Salzburg Festival debut in Figaro, returning there often in the years to follow for acclaimed...
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