Two Stories

The Whyte Recital Hall, Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin

11 November 2023

St Thomas' Church, Belfast

12 November 2023


Giacomo Carissimi (Italy, 1605-1674)Jephte
Stephen McNeff (Northern Ireland, b. 1951)Dives and Lazarus World Premiere


Chamber Choir Ireland
Paul HillierConductor

A dramatic evening of oratorios old and new, by Giacomo Carissimi and Stephen McNeff.

Giacomo Carissimi first developed the oratorio as a way to bring bible stories to life. These vivid musical dramatisations came to resemble unstaged operas—every bit as dramatic, and far easier to share with audiences.

Carissimi's Jephte (c. 1650) tells the story of Jephtha who, in exchange for victory in battle, vows to God that he will sacrifice the first thing he meets upon his return home—unknowingly sacrificing his only daughter.

In the world premiere of a brand new commission, Stephen McNeff weaves together the words of Herman Melville, Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, with traditional folk carols and scripture, to tell the story of Dives and Lazarus—the rich man, and the beggar he sends away.

Hear these dramatic parables unfold in an evening of choral storytelling with Ireland's national chamber choir.

Dives and Lazarus: A Parable for 16 Voices was commissioned by Chamber Choir Ireland with funding from the Arts Council/an Chomhairle Ealaíon, with additional support from the PRS Foundation.

Chamber Choir Ireland receives principal funding from the Arts Council/ an Chomhairle Ealaíon, and support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through its National Lottery fund.