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 The oratorio’s narrator — usually a soprano role — is sung from the perspective of an unnamed, fictional sister of Weil’s. New York Times, "5 Things to Do This Weekend," 14 Jan. 2021 Broadway show, part polytheistic oratorio, gets a digital revival led by Ted Sperling. Vulture Editors, Vulture, "25 Notable New Releases Over the Next Two Weeks," 4 Jan. 2021 Among the most memorable of recent local takes on Handel’s oratorio came when Jeannette Sorrell took the podium in December 2018. Rob Hubbard, Star Tribune, "For Twin Cities classical music fans, it's a holiday season of streaming greetings," 3 Dec. 2020 One of the most instantly recognizable Morris works was staged to George Frideric Handel’s oratorio, premiered in 1988 and filmed at the Teatro Real in Madrid in 2014. Anying Guo, Washington Post, "Mark Morris Dance Group steps online for its 40th-anniversary season," 7 Nov. 2020 Soprano Mari Hahn is a versatile performer of opera, art song, oratorio, music theater and jazz. Anchorage Daily News, "AK Quarantunes: Mari Hahn performs Schubert’s ‘Litanei’," 20 Apr. 2020 Ferdinand Lemaire’s libretto comprises both play-by-play and color commentary; the opera could almost work as an oratorio. Matthew Guerrieri, Washington Post, "‘Samson and Delilah’ has old-school opera style and strengths," 2 Mar. 2020 Planning the attack The press had announced that Napoleon would be attending the French premiere of the oratorio on December 24. National Geographic, "The Christmas Eve plot to blow up Napoleon," 20 Dec. 2019 On the night of December 24, 1800, the first French performance of The Creation, an oratorio by famous composer Joseph Haydn, premiered at the Theater of the Republic and the Arts in Paris. National Geographic, "The Christmas Eve plot to blow up Napoleon," 20 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for oratorio

Time Traveler

The first known use of oratorio was in 1724

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Cite this Entry

“Oratorio.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oratorio. Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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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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