22 Dec 2019

BERLIOZ: L'Enfance du Christ

From Opera on Sunday, 6:00 pm on 22 December 2019
The Flight into Egypt by Giotto di Bondone

The Flight into Egypt by Giotto di Bondone Photo: Public Domain

BERLIOZ: L'Enfance du Christ

Sunday 22 December 2019 at 6.00pm on RNZ Concert


Karen Cargill (mezzo), Robert Murray (tenor), Etienne Dupuis (baritone), Matthew Rose (bass), BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus & Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner 

Recorded in the Barbican Hall, London by the BBC


This week we're straying from the strictly opera form and bring you a star-studded performance from London of Berlioz' oratorio 'The Childhood of Christ'.  The oratorio tells the story of the Holy Family's Flight into Egypt.

Berlioz described L'enfance as a Trilogie sacrée (sacred trilogy). The first of its three sections depicts King Herod ordering the massacre of all newborn children in Judaea; the second shows the Holy Family of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus setting out for Egypt to avoid the slaughter, having been warned by angels; and the final section portrays their arrival in the Egyptian town of Sais where they are given refuge by a family of Ishmaelites.

Berlioz was not religious as an adult but remained all his life susceptible to the beauty of the religious music that had enraptured him as a child.

It is introduced for us on the radio by Martin Handley.

More about 'L'Enfance du Christ'

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