Adam: El Niño
Dawn Upshaw, Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin, Kent Nagano, Steven Rickards & Willard White
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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
Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s