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Treble Choir of Houston to sings with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, May 25 & 26, 2024.

Updated: May 7

At 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 26, in Jones Hall, the Treble Choir of Houston at Christ Church Cathedral will be singing with the Houston Symphony Orchestra in a performance of John Adams’ “El Niño.”


El Niño is an opera-oratorio by the American composer John Adams (b. 1947). This composition was premiered on December 15, 2000, at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, France.


Described as a “nativity oratorio,” it retells the Christmas story, with the first half focusing on Mary’s thoughts before the birth in the stable in Bethlehem, and the second half covering the aftermath of the birth, Herod’s slaughter of the Holy Innocents, and the early life of Jesus.


In telling the story of the birth of Jesus, John Adams used text from the Gospel of Luke found in the King James Version translation of the Bible.


Additionally, in “El Niño,” John Adams incorporated text from the Wakefield Mystery Plays (a series of thirty-two mystery plays based on the Bible, probably in the town of Wakefield, England, during the late Middle Ages until 1576), Martin Luther’s Christmas Sermon (1521) and several gnostic gospels from the Apocrypha (in the first few centuries after the resurrection of Christ, a tradition that came to be known as Gnosticism produced a number of texts that defied modern conventional understanding of the life of Christ and the apostles).


Also included in “El Niño” are poems by Rosario Castellanos (1925 – 1974), Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648 – 1695), Gabriela Mistral’s (1889 – 1947) “the Christmas Star,” Vicente Huidobro (1893 – 1948), Rubén Darío (1867 – 1916), librettist Peter Sellars (1925 – 1980), and Adams himself. The composer also quoted from a choral setting of “O quam preciosa est virginitas virginis huius (How precious is this Virgin’s sweet virginity)” by Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179).


“El Niño” is scored for soprano, mezzo-soprano and baritone soloists, a trio of countertenors, an orchestra (including two guitars and a sampling keyboard), SATB chorus, and a children's chorus.


To purchase tickets for this concert, go to this link:


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