Children's and Liturgical Opera Company, LLC
OPERA: The Birth of Our Lord
BIRTH OF OUR LORD
chancel opera based on the Gospel Christmas narratives
by Susan Hulsman Bingham
to r.) Kathryn O'Connell , Sara Cole, Martha Bennett Oneppo and
Harvey, sopranos, in rehearsal. Photo: New Haven REGISTER
Mary, Rachel and Susannah
(sopranos); Jesus (high baritone) and Angel Chorus (trebles)
piano or organ
a creche. Common items.
Details in score.
The four Gospel accounts
of the birth of Jesus
tonal, melodic, traditionally
harmonic but gently experimental.
three: prelude, main
scene, and postlude
Episcopal Church of
St. John the Evangelist, Wallingford, CT, 1994
. . . And
Joseph went into the city of David called Bethlehem to be taxed with
Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. . . So sings
a choir of Angels, and Angelic interjections of scriptural passages
acknowledge, punctuate and ground Mary's cries as she brings forth
personal events leading up to Jesus' birth. As his narration reaches
the point where the Holy Family journeys to Bethlehem, he steps into
the scene and joins Mary, who is uncomfortable, tired and eager to
find a place to rest. Joseph puts pressure on an innkeeper to give
the couple a room. They are turned away, but Mary's birthing cries
draw two women to her side. She is taken into a stable where Angels
surround her and her midwives.
The hubbub and
strain of the birth are heard but not seen. Soon out of chaos comes
Mary's breathless greeting to her newborn Son. The Angel curtain parts.
The song becomes a trio as the midwives add their voices. Joseph is
called in; the trio becomes a quartet.
from the stable into a night sky so bright that he can see distant
shepherds moving in his direction. A setting of the traditional hymn,
Fairest Lord Jesus, is sung in adoration.
Musical score: $50. Price includes
performing rights and permission to make sufficient copies for cast
and accompanists for one season by one company or group.
"Birth of Our Lord" downloadable PDF file: $25.
dramatic, unusual in its focus on Mary and her relationship with the
women who assist her while she gives birth. Scripture verses, sung by
treble chorus, are interspersed with the more earthly aspects of events.
This opera is a favorite, and we have done it many times.