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 collaboration behind this oratorio, often considered one of Bach’s greatest accomplishments, comes alive in the novel’s latter pages. Erin Douglass, The Christian Science Monitor, 29 Apr. 2022 What’s haunting is how the oratorio form and Christian’s private cosmology elevate such banal statements to an almost sacred plane. New York Times, 30 Mar. 2022 As well as hymns, a motet and a sermon, the solemn vespers would include a gigantic two-part oratorio composed by the church’s Cantor—the director of music—with a text taken from St. Matthew’s gospel. Boyd Tonkin, WSJ, 14 Apr. 2022 One of the hospital’s most famous patrons was George Frideric Handel, who used his Messiah oratorio to raise money for the charity. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 Apr. 2022 There are, for instance, concertos by Barber and Britten, an oratorio by John Adams, and two new concertos for percussion instruments. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 10 Apr. 2022 Divided into five parts, the oratorio covers the history of the camp, including the kids who were transported there, the origin of the magazine and surviving daily life, Cooksey said. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, 16 Mar. 2022 Musical declamation of the kind usual in the narrative and dialogue parts of opera and oratorio, sung in the rhythm of ordinary speech with many words on the same note: singing in recitative. Zadie Smith, The New Yorker, 23 Jan. 2022 Music director Ken-David Masur conducts the annual performance of Handel's oratorio, featuring the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus and vocal soloists, including soprano Alisa Jordheim. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of oratorio was in 1724

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Oratorio.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oratorio. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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