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Oratorio Society at Bethel Highlands March 24

Members of The Phipps Oratorio Society Chorus are, from left, Heather Tank, accompanist; Thomas Dahle, director; and soloists Brigitte Feia, Adele Dolan, Carol Dahle, all of Hudson, Mary Anderson of New Richmond, and Carrie Loney of River Falls. Submitted photo

The Phipps Oratorio Society Chorus and Orchestra will perform Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Fauré, Cantata 56 by J. S. Bach, and "Gloria" by Antonio Vivaldi on Sunday, March 24, at 2 p.m. at Bethel Highlands Church, 504 Frontage Road.

The Cantique is a setting of words by the 17th century dramatist and poet Jean Racine. It was Fauré's first significant composition, written in 1865 while he was in his final year at the École Niedermeyer.

Cantata 56 was written in 1726, as Bach was using single solo voices more frequently than in his earlier years. Since Bach wrote no Lenten music except for the Passion settings, this intense work is very suitable. The featured baritone soloist will be Aaron Engebreth.

Vivaldi's 12-movement "Gloria" is filled with rich contrasts of tonality, tempo, meter and rhythmic figures, homophonic and polyphonic textures, choral and solo contrasts, a range of musical means, lyrical to virtuoso, and a panoply of mood opposites. The music has a theatrical quality that would have pleased the contemporary audience of the early 18th century.

Area soloists are Mary Anderson, New Richmond; Carol Dahle, Adele Dolan, and Brigitte Feia, Hudson; as well as Carrie Loney of River Falls.

Oratorio Society music director Thomas Dahle comments, "This program promises to be a pleasing transition from contemplative Lent to joyous Easter, the perfect way to celebrate the return of spring."

General admission tickets are $22 for adults and $10 for students of all ages. Reservations may be made by contacting The Phipps Center for the Arts ticket office at (715) 386-8409.