Currently in its 19th season and past recipient of the Westchester County Arts Organization of the Year Award, Taconic Opera will be performing the world premiere performance of the oratorio David. Composed by the company’s General and Artistic Director, author and composer, Dan Montez, it is based on the biblical story of King David who is most known for his victorious battle with the giant, Goliath. The performance features four of the company’s principal opera singers, the Taconic Opera chorus, and full orchestra, and will be conducted by the composer himself. You won’t want to miss this extraordinary event.
David is a well know figure in both the Hebrew and Christian bibles. King David is viewed in biblical sources as a righteous and effective king both in battle and in overseeing civil and criminal justice. The father of King Solomon, he was viewed by the Hebrew prophets as the ancestor of the future messiah. This man, who was a musician, artist and poet as well as a warrior, created great beauty and displayed both love and wisdom in his actions, yet he possessed a darker side which led him to commit despicable acts towards others for which he later repented. In essence, he represents all the best and worst of humanity, and his personal battles included much more than the defeat of the now-famous Goliath who was brought down by a sling and a stone.
The harp is integrated throughout the oratorio as a constant in David’s life and representative of his deep spirituality. It is with the harp that he first soothes the soul of Saul. It is also used in the end to represent his ultimate joy and rejoicing associated with the forgiveness of his transgressions. Thematically, this forgiveness is the focal point of the oratorio. David expresses in his Psalms the need of not merely changing behavior, but also changing one’s heart as requisite to complete personal redemption. Ultimately, the story is an inspiring user’s manual to all humans. It is a treatise explaining how all human frailties can be overcome and forgiven, that change is not only possible for everyone, but worth the effort.
This is Montez’s sixth oratorio having its world premiere in Westchester County. He compares his composing style to that of Fauré, Poulenc, Debussy and Ravel, along with elements of opera to add drama to the telling of the story. According to Montez, “These Biblical stories need to be told in English and not just Latin to a modern audience in a beautiful way. Too many liturgical oratorios are either only available in early music or in ultra-modern forms.” His focus is on the text and the beauty of the music rather than on contemporary experimentation, making this and other oratorios he has written very accessible. Comments from his past oratorios include: “Breathtaking!”, “I am in awe!”, “Sweeping harmonic and melodic gestures!”, and “Glorious!”
The company will be presenting performances of the oratorio in two locations: Saturday, March 25, 2017, at 7:30 pm at the Ossining United Methodist Church, 1 Emwilton Place/corner of Route 9, Ossining, NY; and Sunday, March 26, 2017, at 3:00 pm at the White Plains Presbyterian Church, 39 North Broadway, White Plains, NY. Tickets are $27, $20 for seniors and $15 for students and can be purchased at the door, in advance online at www.taconicopera.org, or by calling Taconic Opera’s toll-free number (855) 886-7372.