Goulburn Oratorio

An event for the history books, the tireless efforts of Goulburn’s cultural leaders will culminate on the weekend in one huge arts extravaganza. The 150th Oratorio will took place in November 2013 on St Saviours Common.

The final production incorporated work from three of the city’s major cultural institutions; the Goulburn Regional Conservatorium, the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery and the Lieder Theatre. Southern Tablelands Arts coordinated the event.

Traditionally, an Oratorio is a large-scale musical work that involves big choral sections, some soloists and an orchestra. It’s a bit like an opera or musical, but it is not staged. There are no sets or costumes involved, but there can be dramatic elements like lighting and some appropriate imagery and platforms to perform on. This is the traditional understanding. A modern Oratorio can be something quite different. Still without the formal staging qualities, but the style can be easily adapted to incorporate multiple art forms, spoken word, dance and even light projections. This is why we chose to call this huge work “The Goulburn Oratorio”.

Check out the Gallery of images at the Goulburn Post. 

The Goulburn Oratorio was a multi-arts event, which included a specially commissioned major piece of music. This was performed by Hume Conservatorium and collaborating musical partners from across the region.

Composer: Stephen Leek

Libretto: Regional Poets

Conductor: Paul Scott-Williams

3 November 2013, St Saviour’s Common, Bourke Street, Goulburn

 There were dramatic elements, spoken word, recitation, poetry, puppetry and dance incorporated throughout the work and these elements were provided by the Lieder Theatre. There were dramatic light projections, building mapping and incorporating selected images and motifs that fitted with the musical and dramatic themes. Some of this work was provided by the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery (GRAG).  

Goulburn turned 150 in March 2013. We thought that a fitting way to bring our year of celebration to a rousing end would be to create a large, exciting, memorable event for our community. When we celebrated our birthday, we paid homage to the past. We celebrated who we were, where we have come from and where we are now. The Goulburn Oratorio was the final element of our year of celebration and brought into focus – the future! The first words of the Oratorio are “Where have we come from? What have we learned from the past? Where are we going? What is our future?” These are important questions for us all to consider. Regional school children and regional poets have submitted poems, thoughts and ideas about the future of our region; what it’s like to live here; what it might be like in the future. These words were used to create a work that is 90 minutes long and traverses a journey from our aboriginal ancestors through to an imagined future for our region.

The work was seen to be a positive representation of the diversity of life in and around Goulburn. The music from The Goulburn Oratorio went on to win the 2014 APRA Art Music Award for Excellence in Regional Australia. We remain extremely grateful to, and appreciative of the immense amount of work done by composer Stephen Leek, regional poets, local school students, the staff of the GRC who worked so hard and all of the musicians who joined us for this singular event.

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PO Box 1323 Goulburn 2580

ABN 67 208 214 681

We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians of the lands where we create, live & work. 

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