Pacific Chorale Presents Voices of Light / The Passion of Joan of Arc
Pacific Chorale launches its 2023-24 season launches with Voices of Light / The Passion of Joan of Arc, a spectacular cinematic event featuring Richard Einhorn’s “brilliantly effective” (Washington Post) 1994 oratorio inspired by and performed live to director Carl Dreyer’s 1928 silent film masterpiece, The Passion of Joan of Arc. Einhorn’s evocative work, written for orchestra, chorus and soloists, provides a haunting backdrop to the restored version of Dreyer’s cinematic tour de force, considered by many critic s to be among the greatest films ever made. Thought to have been lost in a warehouse fire, a single print of the film was discovered in a janitor’s closet of a Norwegian mental institution in 1981, which “was digitally restored to pristine condition” (Bright Lights Film Journal). The film, based on the actual 15th century transcripts of St. Joan’s trial for heresy, portrays her trial and execution. Dressed as a boy, she led French troops in a defeat against British occupiers during the Hundred Years’ War, but was later captured and tried by French clergy loyal to the British and condemned to death by burning at the stake for her belief that she was spurred to action by religious visions. Of Renée Maria Falconetti’s portrayal of Joan of Arc, the late renowned film critic Pauline Kael decreed, “It may be the finest performance ever recorded on film.” The featured soloists are Pacific Chorale members Alexandria Burdick, soprano; Rebecca Hasquet, soprano; Stephanie Shepson, mezzo-soprano; Jane Hyun-Jung Shim, mezzo-soprano; Jason Francisco, tenor; and Fernando Muñoz, bass.
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