NYCHORAL presents Arthur Honegger’s biblical epic Le Roi David in the spectacular setting of the historic Central Synagogue in New York.
Music Director David Hayes brings together NYCHORAL, the 18-piece NYCHORAL orchestra, soprano Hannah Spierman, mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson, tenor Benjamin Warschawski and artist Brendan Fernandes in the landmark setting of Central Synagogue for a unique performance of one of Honegger’s most popular and evocative works. Incorporating elements of choral and orchestral music, dance and narration, this performance returns the work to its theatrical origins with a dramatic exploration of the challenges of leadership as explored in the lives of three towering characters of the Old Testament: Samuel, Saul and David.
Honegger’s Le Roi David was commissioned in 1921 by the Swiss playwright René Morax, who was searching for someone to write incidental music for his play Le Roi David. This gave Honegger the opportunity to be a “Biblical” composer like the great oratorio composers before him. The music was an instant success, firmly establishing Honegger’s reputation. The piece embraces several musical styles, ranging from Gregorian chant to Baroque to jazz. It has been described as “lyrical, colorful, exciting, grotesque and grand when appropriate.” The piece has 27 musical movements, some instrumental but most for chorus and orchestra. A narrator connects the scenes and the soprano, alto and tenor soloists take on different roles. The plot tells the story of King David, first as a shepherd boy, his victories in battle, relationship to Saul, rise to power, adultery, mourning his son’s death and finally his own death.
David Hayes, Conductor
Hannah Spierman, Soprano
Heather Johnson, Mezzo Soprano
Benjamin Warschawski, Tenor
Brendan Fernandes, Artist and Choreographer
Philip Stoddard as The Narrator
Samantha E. Turlington as The Witch of Endor