- an extended musical composition with a text more or less dramatic in character and usually based upon a religious theme, for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra, and performed without action, costume, or scenery.
Origin of oratorio
Examples from the Web for oratorio
Needless to say, it was "not equal to Mr. Handel's oratorio of Esther or Deborah."Handel
Edward J. Dent
My part did not come until late in the second part of the oratorio.The First Violin
Not even his Puritanism could enjoy an unlimited diet of oratorio.The Dominant Strain
Anna Chapin Ray
The scenes themselves indicate the dramatic character of the oratorio.
The motto of the oratorio is "Love is strong as death, and unconquerable as the grave."
- a dramatic but unstaged musical composition for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, based on a religious theme
Word Origin and History for oratorio
"long musical composition, usually with a text based on Scripture," 1727 (in English from 1640s in native form oratory), from Italian oratorio (late 16c.), from Church Latin oratorium (see oratory (n.2)), in reference to musical services in the church of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Rome, where old mystery plays were adapted to religious services.
A musical composition for voices and orchestra, telling a religious story.