Orthodox Bishop's Oratorio to Premiere in U.S.

Washington Boys Choir to Join Russian Musicians

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WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 27, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The world premiere of Russian Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev’s newest musical work is set for the U.S. capital in December.

The premiere of "Christmas Oratorio" is set for Dec. 17 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It will be performed by the Russian Defense Ministry Symphony Orchestra together with the Choir of the Tretyakov Gallery and the Youth Choir of the Musical College by the Moscow Conservatory. The Washington Boys Choir will join the Russian musicians at the finale of the “Oratorio."

“At the heart of this composition lies the Gospel narrative of the birth and early days of Jesus Christ’s life on earth,” Bishop Alfeyev of Vienna and Austria said. “The dramatization is essentially one of movement from darkness to light, from the Old Testament to the New, from the painful expectation of the Messiah to the triumphant joy of mankind’s salvation by God incarnate.”

Hilarion Alfeyev, 41, studied violin, piano and composition before entering monastic life at age 20. He was consecrated bishop at age 35.

He is the representative of the Moscow Patriarchate to the European Union in Brussels and a member of the Mixed Commission for the Dialogue Between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

Bishop Alfeyev recently premiered his "The Passion According to St. Matthew" both in Moscow and in Rome, and later in Australia.