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The Dream of Gerontius - Brisbane City Hall

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by Karina Bryer (subscribe)
I'm a mother of four with two coeliac children. I'm always on the lookout for great gluten-free spots around Brisbane and feature gluten-free cooking in my blog: I'm also a muso and enjoy live music around town.
Epic Forces Combine in Soul's Path to Purgutory
Dream of Gerontius
The Dream of Gerontius in Brisbane's City Hall

When vocal and orchestral forces combine to present rarely performed works, you know you will be in for a treat. Such is the case with the upcoming performance of Elgar's mighty Dream of Gerontius, presented by the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra, Canitcum Chamber Choir and the Brisbane Chorale. Sixty musicians will join forces with a 130 voice choir and three fabulous soloists under the direction of Emily Cox to bring you this incredible work in the stunningly renovated Brisbane City Hall.

John Henry Newman
John Henry Newman, Author of the Original Poem

The Dream of Gerontius, a poem by John Henry Newman tells the story of the soul of a pious man from deathbed, to his judgement before God and final settling into Purgatory. This poem was largely inspired by Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, which was also the inspiration for the recent Dan Brown novel, Inferno. Such dramatic writing and vivid imagery led English composer Edward Elgar to set this text to music for the Birmingham Festival in 1900, with the first performance taking place on the 3 October in the Birmingham Town Hall. It is widely regarded as Elgar's finest choral competition.

Brisbane Symphony and Chorale
Orchestra & Choir Combine in Rehearsal

Part One of the work focuses on Gerontius' death, with friends around him pleading for his passage to be smooth and Gerontius' own declaration of faith. Finally the priest gives his blessing and we move to Part Two of the work. Here the text tells us the tale of Gerontius as he is guided by an angel toward God, of his safe passage past demons looking to gather souls for hell and on towards God. However upon looking upon His image, he is pained by the sight and he begs to be sent away to spend time in purgatory until he is properly prepared to see Him. This vivid text is conveyed by Elgar through reflective themes, dramatic and tormented musical moments and a rich orchestration which will thrill audiences.

Dream of Gerontius
Original Score of Dream of Gerontius

In it's early history, the work was met equally by controversy and praise. Anglican clerics demanded that the strong Roman Catholic references be toned down for English performances, while in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1902, Elgar was called to the stage twenty times to receive applause. To discover more about this epic work, you may wish to arrive early to hear the free pre-concert talk at 2.30pm or visit the Elgar Website.

Edward Elgar
English Composer Edward Elgar

Vocal Soloists for the performance will be tenor David Hamilton, Mezzo Soprano Georgia Hawes-White and Bass David Wakeham. The concert is the opening concert of the 4MBS Festival of Classics and will take place in the Brisbane City Hall Auditorium on Sunday 4th May at 3pm. Tickets range from $30 up to $55 and are available from 4MBS Ticketing by calling 3847 1717 or by visiting the 4MBS Website.

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Why? Hear Mighty Orchestral & Vocal Forces Combine in Epic Work
When: 3pm (pre-concert talk 2.30pm)
Phone: 3847 1717
Where: Brisbane City Hall
Cost: Tickets $30-$55
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