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American Classical Orchestra Performs a Holiday Program of Italian Works at Corpus Christi Church, Dec. 14, 2023

Corpus Christi Church
Dec 14 | Thu |
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Concert Features Rediscoveries of Antonio Bencini’s Lost Christmas Oratorio and Antonio Gianettini’s Magnificat, in Collaboration with the Academy of Sacred Drama Soloists are Soprano Linda Tsatsanis, Mezzo-Soprano Kate Maroney, and Tenor Alex Guerrero, with Members of the American Classical Orchestra Chorus

Founder and Artistic Director Thomas Crawford leads the American Classical Orchestra (ACO) in its second of four Manhattan performances this season with a special holiday program featuring members of the ACO Chorus on Thursday, December 14 at 7 PM at Corpus Christi Church. The concert offers a selection of Italian works including the rediscovery of Antonio Bencini’s mislaid Christmas oratorio Gesù Nato from the shelves of the Vatican archives, as well as the retrieval of Antonio Gianettini’s Magnificat and five psalm settings. The program will begin with a brief presentation by Thomas Crawford describing the works and offering orchestral excerpts.   Featured soloists are Canadian soprano Linda Tsatsanis, hailed as "ravishing" (The New York Times) for her performance at the Boston Early Music Festival;  mezzo-soprano and CBC and Naxos recording artist Kate Maroney, a voice and vocal pedagogy teacher at both Mannes School of Music and Yale University who appears this season in David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of MetLiveArts; and tenor Alex Guerrero, praised by The New York Times for his "apt comic timing" in the role of Ali in André Gretry's Zémire et Azor with the ACO, and a featured singer in many the orchestra's performances.   Thomas Crawford will next lead the ACO in a performance of Bach’s Mass in B minor with the ACO Chorus on March 7, 2024, at Alice Tully Hall.   Gesù Nato, A Christmas Oratorio Thursday, December 14, 2023, 7 pm at Corpus Christi Church, W. 121 St. between Broadway & Amsterdam American Classical Orchestra Thomas Crawford, conductor Linda Tsatsanis, soprano Kate Maroney, mezzo-soprano Alex Guerrero, tenor Members of the ACO Chorus Antonio Gianettini: Five Psalms (Deus in adjutorium, Dixit Dominus, Confitebor tibi Domine, Beatus vir, and Laudate Pueri Dominum) Antonio Gianettini: Magnificat Antonio Bencini: Gesù Nato  

Considered one of the most talented composers of his era, Antonio Gianettini was a 17th-century Italian organist, singer, and composer. His operas and sacred music were appreciated during his lifetime in both Italy and Germany. In 1686, Gianettini took the post of maestro di cappella to Francesco II d’Este, Duke of Modena, and remained in that post for much of his life. His Psalms are written for four-part chorus with string accompaniment. The first of five performed at this concert is Deus in adjutorium, a short introductory prayer drawn from Psalm 69 and often used to begin liturgical prayer services, such as evening Vespers. The four psalms that follow are traditionally used in the Roman Catholic rite of Sunday Vespers and on major feast days, like Christmas. Gianettini’s version of the Magnificat, also known as the Canticle of Mary, is a prayer of praise to God found in the Gospel of Luke. Often used in the daily prayers of the Catholic Church during the Advent Season, it has been set to music by many composers. ACO’s performance of Antonio Bencini’s Gesù Nato marks what is likely the modern premiere of the full work. This lost Christmas oratorio manuscript by the little-known composer was likely premiered in 1742 in Bologna, before it was shelved at the Vatican Library for three centuries. The work, which features vocal soloists, a choir, and an orchestra of trumpets, oboes, and strings, centers on the shepherds who witnessed the Nativity. The oratorio was composed during the time Bencini served as maestro di cappella at the Chiesa Nuova (The Roman Oratory) from 1705-1743. Thereafter he served as maestro of the Cappella Giulia at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome until his death in 1748.   This performance is a co-production of the ACO and the Academy of Sacred Drama, founded in 2013 by ACO violinist and scholar Jeremy Rhizor. The Organization is dedicated to Baroque oratorio that draws its stories from biblical tales and the lives of saints.                                                               Tickets, priced at $75, $55, and $35, are available at, or by calling at ACO at (212) 362-2727, ext. 4.

Venue: Corpus Christi Church

529 W. 121st Street, between Broadway & Amsterdam Avenue Map