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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
oratorio
noun
EXAMPLES FROM CORPUS
▪ Her repertoire includes lieder and oratorios, though she has been most active as an opera singer.
▪ In the days of Phrynichos' Fall of Miletos, as was observed, tragedy was a kind of oratorio with costume.
▪ It swelled, diminished, and swelled again like an oratorio.
▪ The radio had Christmas music which often she did not like, huge oratorios and quasi-religious peculiar plays.
▪ There were also two libretti for oratorios probably dating from 1765, as well as other miscellaneous poems.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Oratorio

Oratorio \Or`a*to"ri*o\, n. [It., fr. L. oratorius belonging to praying. See Orator, and cf. Oratory.]

  1. (Mus.) A more or less dramatic text or poem, founded on some Scripture nerrative, or great divine event, elaborately set to music, in recitative, arias, grand choruses, etc., to be sung with an orchestral accompaniment, but without action, scenery, or costume, although the oratorio grew out of the Mysteries and the Miracle and Passion plays, which were acted.

    Note: There are instances of secular and mythological subjects treated in the form of the oratorios, and called oratorios by their composers; as Haydn's ``Seasons,'' Handel's ``Semele,'' etc.

  2. Performance or rendering of such a composition.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
oratorio

"long musical composition, usually with a text based on Scripture," 1727 (in English from 1640s in native form oratory), from Italian oratorio (late 16c.), from Church Latin oratorium (see oratory (n.2)), in reference to musical services in the church of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Rome, where old mystery plays were adapted to religious services.

Wiktionary
oratorio

n. (context music English) A musical composition on a religious theme; similar to opera but with no costume, scenery or acting.

WordNet
oratorio

n. a musical composition for voices and orchestra based on a religious text [syn: cantata]

Wikipedia
Oratorio

An oratorio is a large musical composition for orchestra, choir, and soloists. Like an opera, an oratorio includes the use of a choir, soloists, an ensemble, various distinguishable characters, and arias. However, opera is musical theatre, while oratorio is strictly a concert piece—though oratorios are sometimes staged as operas, and operas are sometimes presented in concert form. In an oratorio there is generally little or no interaction between the characters, and no props or elaborate costumes. A particularly important difference is in the typical subject matter of the text. Opera tends to deal with history and mythology, including age-old devices of romance, deception, and murder, whereas the plot of an oratorio often deals with sacred topics, making it appropriate for performance in the church. Protestant composers took their stories from the Bible, while Catholic composers looked to the lives of saints, as well as to Biblical topics. Oratorios became extremely popular in early 17th-century Italy partly because of the success of opera and the Catholic Church's prohibition of spectacles during Lent. Oratorios became the main choice of music during that period for opera audiences.

Oratorio (horse)

Oratorio (foaled 29 April 2002) is an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. As a two-year-old in 2004 he won four of his seven races including the Anglesey Stakes, Futurity Stakes and Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere as well as finishing second in the Phoenix Stakes and the Dewhurst Stakes. He showed his best form when tried over a mile and a quarter in 2005, when he defeated strong international fields in the Eclipse Stakes and the Irish Champion Stakes, beating the Epsom Derby winner Motivator on both occasions. He was retired to stud at the end of 2005 and has had some success as a sire of winners.

Usage examples of "oratorio".

Oratorio Buffo in the Handelian manner--that is as nearly so as we could make it.

Madoc surmised that men who sang opera and oratorio as often as Pitney and Kight did were accustomed to hearing loud soprano shrieks and could shut them out at will.

They use the words counterpoint, fugue, symphony, oratorio, polyphony, the mode of Beethoven, the orchestration of Mahler, but their essential point is that, like a musician, the novelist seized time and reconstructed it according to his own laws, which were very close to those of orchestral music.

He sang in all of the oratorios given by the Handel and Haydn society of San Francisco as bass soloist, Creation, St.

Evan reassuring Sally that nobody noticed the soloist going flat during the Handel oratorio.

Working with his usual music-lyrics team of Gossec and Marie-Joseph Chenier, David had conceived of the event as a vast revolutionary oratorio.

While the rebellion was raging we laid aside oratorio work and studied patriotic music suitable to the concerts that we were called upon to give to raise funds for the soldiers.

Matthew Passion, the John Passion, the Christmas Oratorio, the Magnificat, the Motets, and 25 of the Church Cantatas have been printed with English words.

That at least seems to be the inference to be drawn from the remark which he made to the Emperor Francis on being asked which of his two oratorios he himself preferred.

A wave of musical excitement appears to have been passing through London, for on this very evening both Covent Garden and Drury Lane Theatres were packed with audiences drawn together by the oratorio performances there.

London Performances Salomon, strangely enough, had threatened Haydn with penalties for pirating his text, but he thought better of the matter, and now wrote to the composer for a copy of the score, so that he might produce the oratorio in London.

No le discuto que la situación de Requena es envidiable y que el oratorio Hamburgués y el casal de tapires que adquirí a precio irrisorio en esas enchères me han resultado mucho.

That is true, if we are comparing it with the choruses of Handel's oratorios.

It was at my suggestions that the Abbe de Voisenon conceived the idea of composing oratorios in poetry.