Choir and Orchestra to Present Easter Concert
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square will present an Easter concert conducted by music director Mack Wilberg on Good Friday, April 14, and Saturday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. The repertoire for the concert will include Ludwig van Beethoven’s Christ on the Mount of Olives and a new work with music by Mack Wilberg called A Cloud of Witnesses.
Christ on the Mount of Olives, op. 85, was first performed in April 1803 in Vienna, Austria. It was Beethoven’s first major work on a religious subject and his only oratorio. The libretto by Franz Xaver Huber treats the emotional agony of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and His ultimate triumph over death. The dramatic oratorio features three soloists: a soprano who portrays an angel, a tenor who sings as Jesus, and a bass who is the voice of Peter.
Joining the Choir and Orchestra in these solo roles will be Celena Shafer (soprano), Brian Stucki (tenor), and Tyler Simpson (bass). Both Shafer and Stucki make their homes in Utah, and all three singers have sung with the Choir previously. Ms. Shafer has sung the Brahms Requiem with the Choir and Orchestra, appeared on several Music and the Spoken broadcasts, and most recently performed the Mahler Symphony no. 8 with the Choir and Utah Symphony. Mr. Stucki performed Messiah with the Choir and Orchestra in 2014 and at Deer Valley with the Choir and Utah Symphony. Mr. Simpson, who currently resides in Helsinki, Finland, was the bass soloist for Messiah selections on the Choir’s 2015 Christmas concert and will perform as the bass soloist again when the Choir performs Messiah for Easter in 2018.
Following the Beethoven oratorio, the Choir and Orchestra will present the world premiere of A Cloud of Witnesses, a piece for choir and orchestra inspired by accounts of witnesses to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This work follows the Utah premiere last year of The Prodigal, another work by Wilberg based on the scriptural account of Christ’s parable of the prodigal son. As with The Prodigal, Wilberg’s longtime collaborator David Warner provides an original text drawing from scriptural references in the King James Version of the Bible.
Tickets have all been claimed. Patrons without tickets are encouraged to join the standby line by the flagpole on Temple Square for last-minute seating which is often available. Admission is open to those eight years and older. Those attending should plan to be in their seats no later than 7 p.m.