Oratorio For Living Things
Closed 1h 30m
Oratorio For Living Things
92

Oratorio For Living Things NYC Reviews and Tickets

92%
(51 Reviews)
Positive
98%
Mixed
2%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great singing, Absorbing, Enchanting, Masterful, Exquisite

Composer Heather Christian imbues the classical oratorio with blues, gospel, jazz and soul. 

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Member Reviews (51)

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909 Reviews | 222 Followers
82
Great singing, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if If you want an evening of great music. Immersive, soulful.

Don't see it if If you want a traditional show.

404 Reviews | 69 Followers
90
Intense, Profound, Great singing, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you want to see something both entertaining, original and mesmerizing.

Don't see it if you don't like just singing with no plot dialogue.

393 Reviews | 43 Followers
81
Masterful, Great singing, Ambitious

See it if well composed and sung oratorio. music is key here, not the words. harmonies were glorious.

Don't see it if want a story. this is just a bunch of songs around a topic and most of the lyrics were unintelligeable.

389 Reviews | 57 Followers
86
Great singing, Delightful, Enchanting

See it if Like a playful yet graceful shower of harmonic singing filling into a bath. Little confusing at first, but just let the music in.

Don't see it if ~80% isn't intelligible (Latin + lot of singing over each other); less about plot/understandable words, more about feels; intimate space. Read more

336 Reviews | 99 Followers
91
Moving, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if you're into the idea of a theatre piece that's more immersively staged choral performance than plot-driven show; gorgeous music abounds

Don't see it if you're looking for a traditional book piece Read more

327 Reviews | 84 Followers
95
Resonant, Great staging, Masterful, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy non-linear theatre pieces and or contemporary classical music.

Don't see it if You dislike pieces where the intention may not be to have you perfectly understand each moment as it happens. Read more

315 Reviews | 63 Followers
94
Thought-provoking, Meticulous, Exquisite

See it if you are open to an in-person experience that doesn't have to mean anything. You're open to just feel.

Don't see it if you demand a linear narrative in everything you see. Read more

311 Reviews | 40 Followers
94
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intense, Masterful, Great singing

See it if Nothing else even comes close to what is happening on Barrow Street. Any fan of Dave Malloy’s Octet. Elemental.

Don't see it if Immersive and sometimes incoherent, as is life. May require a second visit.

Critic Reviews (9)

The New York Times
March 30th, 2022

"Profoundly strange and overwhelmingly beautiful...If the text is sometimes baffling and hermetic, it is confident enough in its oddness that you do not worry about crashing when it flies close to the twee line...What’s haunting is how the oratorio form and Christian’s private cosmology elevate such banal statements to an almost sacred plane. Alternating in the classical manner between massed choral singing and solo arias — all exquisitely performed under the music direction of Ben Moss — she throws several centuries of musical styles into the pot and swirls them around."
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Time Out New York
March 30th, 2022

"5/5 stars! A sui generis meditation on time and existence, a classical choral masterwork infused with pop, blues and gospel. A dozen superlative vocalists and six marvelous instrumentalists make sense and aural spectacle out of Christian's compositions...Lest that sound pretentious, be assured that 'Oratorio for Living Things' is, above all, exhilarating."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
March 30th, 2022

"I have always been a little annoyed by dramatists’ slipshod use of scientific principles — perhaps because I’ve seen too many plays that shoehorn quantum theory into human relationships...But Christian smashes through that old prejudice of mine. As her smiling performers, all in beautiful voice, sing that we are 'made for collision' because of our atomic makeup, I believed it. The 'Oratorio for Living Things' uses music to dissolve the listeners into their fundamental particles, then uses simple choreography and intimate eye contact to reorganize us."
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Theatermania
March 30th, 2022

"This collision of classical music, experimental theater, and theoretical physics generates so much creative energy, it feels like it could power every theater in New York...While no performer stands out, all make personal connections with the material and each audience member...Music director Ben Moss achieves an almost seamless vocal cohesion in a chorus that is always on the move, performing in the round."
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Front Row Center
April 28th, 2022

"The 'Oratorio for Living Things' is a miraculous, thought-provoking celebration of hope, life, and the human spirit, ravishingly expressed through a brilliant fusion of music and theater."
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Exeunt Magazine
March 30th, 2022

"You can’t understand the delicate alchemy of performers and material, staging and design that have resulted in this transportive experience unless you witness it for yourself. Christian, director Lee Sunday Evans, and the soul-altering eighteen-person ensemble of singers and musicians have achieved something so intensely personal for the audience that it then unites the individuals into a collective...Christian’s composition is wholly original, often startling, occasionally hilarious. The sheer volume of complicated, avant-garde music the singers are tasked with performing from memory is a feat unto itself."
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New York Theater
March 30th, 2022

such a gorgeous, awe-inspiring concert of original music by Heather Christian that it feels like a religious experience. Indeed, the music — inflected with Baroque, gospel, blues, pop, and jazz — could work as a church service. A third of the songs are even in Latin… It’s not necessary to grasp fully what’s going on in order to appreciate the soaring score….[but] there’s no denying the show’s intellectual complexity
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Broadway Blog
March 30th, 2022

"'Oratorio' is unique in that it is like a mass—glorious and contemplative—but there is no single preacher. Instead, the ensemble of twelve performers...It is a sprawling topic, and Christian’s rich score provides all the wild and loving notes to give it its due. And while this mass reminded me of the inextricable ties between a church service and theater, I am not sure this particular piece needed theatricalizing: I would have preferred just to listen to it."
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