Following its success with its Festival of Orchestra series, which included the staging of the massive Carmina Burana, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra has presented the premiere of composer and conductor Richard Mills’ equally massive oratorio Nativity, a work newly commissioned by the ASO. Such was the size of the ensemble needed to produce it that several rows of seats at the front of the Adelaide Town Hall had to be removed to make room for the enlarged stage. Three choirs — Adelaide Chamber Singers, Graduate Singers and Young Adelaide Voices, 95 singers in all — accompanied the orchestra and soloists.

Nativity ASO Nativity

Mills’ Nativityis in three parts which alternate spoken narrative with combinations of orchestral music, arias and choral music. Part I, the Prologue, begins with a poem by Yehuda Amichai, entitled Endless Poem, sung by baritone Joshua Rowe, a gently introspective piece that muses on the idea of the self as a history of personal perceptions that create one’s reality. In the context of Nativity, the...