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Villains & Heroes: Messiahs False and True

In the first concert of our 30th season, VILLAINS & HEROES, The Esoterics is excited to perform two new choral works by the Los Angeles-based composer, Rex Isenberg.

For his first piece, If we have wisdom, Isenberg sets the text of a letter written by George Washington to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1790. This letter holds much significance for many American Jews as a testament to their rights to religious freedom and self-determination — right from the very founding of this country.

In his second, more extensive work of the performance, Messiahs false and true, Isenberg explores the perennial predicament of the “messianic leader” in human history. Messianic figures have played an important role in shaping human history, and their influence continues to be felt today. Some of these figures become our greatest heroes, others, our most hateful villains.

This work is composed for choir with accompaniment of organ (featuring Wyatt Smith),
percussion (played by James Doyle), as well as a spoken narration (to be performed by the Reverend Kelle Brown). The spoken narration of Rex’s piece consists of a collage of texts from various messianic leaders — including Obama, Caligula, Ghandi, Reagan, Douglass, Lincoln, Hamilton, Kennedy, Franklin, and Trump — as well as their admirers and critics. This narration is paired with biblical passages from Handel’s Messiah that is sung by the choir in response to the narration.

Event Details

Event Date: March 25 - March 26  

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United States