In partnership with Cathedral Arts, the Cantata Singers of Ottawa will present the story of St. Nicolas, featuring the soloist Nils Brown, the children of the Cathedral Choirs, members of the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy, organ, piano, percussion, and a professional string quintet.
Performed by atmospheric candlelight, the concert will consist of 5 works by Benjamin Britten:
Hymn to Saint Peter
A Hymn of Saint Columba
Hymn to Saint Cecilia
A Hymn to the Virgin
Saint Nicolas – a Cantata, Op.42
The major work, Saint Nicolas, was written in 1948, and tells the life of the fourth-century Bishop of Myra, St. Nicolas, famous for legendary miracles and for being the original Santa Claus. The text is written by librettist Eric Crozier.
The work is for choir, children’s chorus, orchestra and tenor solo, the original tenor soloist being Peter Pears who was both an old member of the school that commissioned the work, and Britten’s partner. The work dramatizes several miracles including a storm and three pickled boys being brought back to life. The cantata also requires audience participation (there will be a brief rehearsal for the audience before the concert starts).
The Cantata Singers of Ottawa will be joined by the extraordinary Canadian tenor, Nils Brown, boys and girls from the Christ Church Cathedral Choirs (directed by James Calkin), the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy, and a small professional orchestra led by Brigitte Amyot. The orchestra includes strings, two pianos and extensive percussion.
The Cantata Singers of Ottawa first performed Britten St Nicolas in 1970, and two further performances were arranged with tenor Peter Pears in 1976. Unfortunately, Peter Pears dropped out of the second performance upon hearing of Britten’s deteriorating health, choosing instead to return home and attend a champagne party for Britten’s 63rd birthday. Britten died less than two weeks later.
The other works in the concert will be performed by the Cantata Singers a capella as well as with organist Shawn Potter. Notably, the Hymn to St Cecilia was written on the MS Axel Johnson en route from Halifax NS to England in 1942.
More info on the works is available on the Boosey & Hawkes website and the respective websites of the guest performers.
NOVEMBER 23, 2019 | 7:30 PM
CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL
414 SPARKS STREET
$50 Premium seating