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 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 Even among groups specializing in Baroque music, the oratorio tends to be overshadowed by that other holiday classic, Handel’s Messiah. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Apollo’s Fire takes holiday road less traveled with Bach’s Christmas Oratorio," 4 Dec. 2019 In a prolific career, Mr. Kingsley wrote a concerto for four Moogs, as well as musicals, operas, oratorios, cantatas, movie soundtracks, and a rock version of Jewish Sabbath services. BostonGlobe.com, "His daughter Alisse Kingsley confirmed his death.," 19 Dec. 2019 The book provided the libretto for an oratorio with music by her sister, composer Sarah Meneely-Kyder. Carole Goldberg, courant.com, "Write Stuff: Ta-Nehisi Coates in New Haven, Reyna Grande at Hartford library," 13 Nov. 2019 Houston Grand Opera production of Handel’s oratorio. Wei-huan Chen And Molly Glentzer, Houston Chronicle, "What’s on Houston stages this week," 24 Oct. 2019 Costa-Jackson’s beautiful diction and rolled Rs would have been great in an oratorio, but this was not the way a punk Mimì, alert to everything around her, would sound. Los Angeles Times, "Review: For an embattled L.A. Opera, a ‘La Bohème’ that points the way forward," 15 Sep. 2019 Soon, however, the oratorio reaches a turning point, the sting of hate and pain giving way to chords of serenity and peace. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Review: ‘Considering Matthew Shepard’ more striking with lessons of hope on Ravinia’s bigger stage," 13 Sep. 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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Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oratorio.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oratorio. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce oratorio (audio)

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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