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“You must come to Worcester Cathedral and hear what Gerontius might be. ...The building will do it.” Sir Edward Elgar, 1902
Did you know that Worcestershire composer Sir Edward Elgar led Worcester Festival Choral Society's 'Band' in the 1890s, conducted many of our concerts, and chose our choir to premiere two of his choral works? In tribute to that connection, on Saturday 18th March 2023, Worcester Festival Choral Society is proud to bring Elgar's best-loved choral work, The Dream of Gerontius, to Worcester Cathedral - the very venue he felt was the perfect setting for his masterwork.
The Dream of Gerontius is widely regarded as one of Elgar’s most thrilling masterpieces. Set to a poem of the same name by Cardinal John Henry Newman, this ravishing work depicts the final moments of ‘everyman’ Gerontius and the dramatic journey of his soul into the afterlife, accompanied by his Guardian Angel. Brimming with musical drama and emotion, The Dream of Gerontius established Elgar as the leading composer of his day.
In the concert, Worcester Festival Choral Society’s 140 voices depict the friends, priests, demons and angels Gerontius encounters along the way. Also appearing are three, internationally acclaimed soloists, whose credentials include the Royal Opera House and English Touring Opera (pictured, top to bottom): mezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons (Angel); bass-baritone Njabulo Madlala (Priest/Angel of the Agony) and tenor Mark Wilde (Gerontius).
Accompanying will be the Meridian Sinfonia symphony orchestra. The conductor is Worcester Cathedral’s director of music, Samuel Hudson.
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