from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A musical composition for voices and orchestra, telling a sacred story without costumes, scenery, or dramatic action.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A musical composition on a religious theme; similar to opera but with no costume, scenery or acting.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A more or less dramatic text or poem, founded on some Scripture nerrative, or great divine event, elaborately set to music, in recitative, arias, grand choruses, etc., to be sung with an orchestral accompaniment, but without action, scenery, or costume, although the oratorio grew out of the Mysteries and the Miracle and Passion plays, which were acted.
- n. Performance or rendering of such a composition.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A place of worship; a chapel; an oratory.
- n. A form of extended musical composition, more or less dramatic in character, based upon a religious (or occasionally a heroic) theme, and intended to be performed without dramatic action and scenery.
- n. The words or text of an oratorio; an oratorio libretto.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a musical composition for voices and orchestra based on a religious text
These "sacred actions" or plays were not performed in the church itself, but in an adjoining chamber, called in Italian "oratorio," an oratory, and the title has since then adhered to this species of sacred work.
This work due to its setting to music by Mikis Theodorakis as an oratorio, is a revered anthem whose verse is sung by all Greeks for all injustice, resistance and for its sheer beauty and musicality of form.
The oratorio is arranged in 15 distinct sections meant to parallel the structure of a passion play.
For example, Frank Martin's adaptation of the Tristan and Iseut legend in oratorio form Le Vin Herbé.
What becomes portable, therefore, in subsequent performances of the oratorio, is its ability to call forth the anxious spectre of French aggression and the supposedly dire consequences of political apostasy or reform.
I have a voice, and I came over to England two years ago to study English, so that I might sing in oratorio at the Albert Hall.
Although the name oratorio was not applied to the new form until sixty years later (Andrea Bontempi, 1624-1705), there is an unbroken tradition connecting the exercises established by St. Philip with the period when the new art-form received its definite character.
Susannah Cibber, who gained considerable fame as a singer in oratorio before becoming an acress.
Hiller, who had written additional accompaniments to the oratorio and translated the English words into German, had received an invitation from the committee, and easily persuaded Chopin to accompany him.
Florence group of aristocratic truth-seekers in art, who wrote the text of the first religious musical dramatic composition to which the name oratorio became attached.