February 23, 2008

More on Enemy Slayer the oratorio

Universal truths, ancient wisdom

"Enemy Slayer: A Navajo Oratorio" reveals deep meaning of creation story"Enemy Slayer" casts the story of a battle-fatigued Navajo warrior returning from Iraq in epic terms, inspired by--but not violating--the sacred 'Anaa'jí (Enemy Way) ceremony.

The first-ever oratorio to be based on an indigenous creation story, rather than the Bible, "Enemy Slayer" was performed before sold-out audiences Feb. 7 and 9, winning a 10-minute standing ovation after its premiere.

The performances marked the culmination of nearly two years of work by composer Mark Grey, who recruited award-winning Navajo poet Laura Tohe to write the lyrics, or libretto, that give shape to his visionary concept.

The 70-minute piece featured a chorus of 140 singers, a full symphony orchestra, baritone soloist Scott Hendricks, and the Southwest landscape photography of Deborah O'Grady projected on a 12-by-21 foot screen.

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