June 24-30 - "He Is Risen"
Ethan Wickman, composer (American, born 1973) and Glen Nelson, librettist (American, born 1961)
To a Village Called Emmaus (2019)
Oratorio for large chorus, orchestra, and soloists
Commissioned and premiered by the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra, Craig Jessop, music director
Used with permission of the composer and librettist
For centuries, artists have responded to the scriptures in their original works. These artists include painters, of course, but also authors, filmmakers, composers, choreographers, etc. They are fed by the texts of the scriptures, and in turn, their works help us see the sacred works in new ways.
On April 20, 2019, the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra in Logan, Utah premiered a 35-minute work by composer Ethan Wickman and librettist Glen Nelson. Their story was taken from the account in the book of Luke (Luke 24:13-34) about the two disciples who travel with the disguised Savior to Emmaus after His crucifixion. In the oratorio, Jesus sings an aria as they break bread together, immediately before He disappears into the night. It takes the metaphor of bread rising to refer to His resurrection.
An excerpt from the text:
Let us take bread then,
Break, and eat together.
What is our bread?
Grain and water, only
Salt and leaven,
Time and heat.
So it is with us all:
A gathering of ingredients
A mixing of joy and sadness
And then the miracle of the rise.
Listen to the live recording of the aria, sung by Errik Hood, baritone, American Festival Chorus and Orchestra, and Craig Jessop, conductor.
Bread was a symbol often used by Jesus to describe Himself. How is water also an effective symbol for Jesus? How do these two symbols work together in the ordinance of the sacrament?
Cleopas, one of these two disciples on the road to Emmaus, began a question to Jesus by asking, "Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem...?" (Luke 24:18) . Why do you think that these two disciples did not recognize Jesus? Can you think of times when you have missed seeing His touch in your life, only to be recognized in later reflection?
"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2). How can engaging with strangers bless our lives and theirs?
Listen to the Center’s Studio Podcast about the oratorio, To a Village Called Emmaus with composer Ethan Wickman.