or·​a·​to·​rio | \ ˌȯr-ə-ˈtȯr-ē-ˌō How to pronounce oratorio (audio) , ˌär-\
plural oratorios

Definition of oratorio

: a lengthy choral work usually of a religious nature consisting chiefly of recitatives, arias, and choruses without action or scenery

Examples of oratorio in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

What remains is a gloomy, 65-minute oratorio that extends the prison setting to the wider world. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘prisoner of the state’ Review: Stripping Away the Story," 12 June 2019 For those of us who love classical music, performances usually fit into neat categories — operas, symphonies, oratorios and the like. Georgia Rowe, The Mercury News, "Other Minds 2019 debut ‘The Pressure’: Grimm’s fairy tale meets Trump," 10 June 2019 Billboard caught up with the composer, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for his moving oratorio, The Little Match Girl Passion, to find out why the plot of a 200-year-old opera still sounds so eerily familiar. Oussama Zahr, Billboard, "David Lang on Blending Politics & Opera in His 'Prisoner of the State'," 7 June 2019 The 1941 oratorio, after all, emphasizes intimacy over grandeur. Rick Schultz, latimes.com, "'The Love Potion': Tristan and Isolde, the Long Beach Opera way," 16 May 2018 Considering Matthew Shepard Composer-pianist Craig Hella Johnson and vocal ensemble Conspirare perform Johnson’s oratorio that remembers the young gay student who was murdered in Wyoming in 1988. Matt Cooper, latimes.com, "The week ahead in SoCal classical music: Partch, Pacific Symphony and more," 9 June 2018 Within this small boy, so modest in his manner, there were symphonies unwritten, suites and concertos and oratorios. Cynthia Ozick, New York Times, "One Last Book From a Virtuoso of the Short Story," 14 May 2018 Schumann created a nuanced new genre unfit for generic pigeonholes that includes aspects of opera, oratorio, chamber music and song. Mark Swed, latimes.com, "'Das Paradies': A giant globular tear as ticket to heaven," 4 June 2018 This jazz-gospel version of Handel’s famed oratorio as rearranged by Bob Christianson and Gary Anderson has become a holiday favorite in the Detroit Opera House. David Lyman, Detroit Free Press, "MOT's 2018-19 season includes 'Eugene Onegin,' 'Candide' and 'Grapes of Wrath'," 13 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oratorio.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of oratorio

1724, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for oratorio

Italian, from the Oratorio di San Filippo Neri (Oratory of St. Philip Neri) in Rome

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Statistics for oratorio

Last Updated

21 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for oratorio

The first known use of oratorio was in 1724

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English Language Learners Definition of oratorio

: a large piece of music for a group of singers and musicians that is usually about a religious subject

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oratorio

Spanish Central: Translation of oratorio

Nglish: Translation of oratorio for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oratorio

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