Bella Voce: Britten’s Ceremony of Carols

December 21, 2018, 12:00 pm

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Since its founding in 1983 under the name His Majestie’s Clerkes, Bella Voce has delivered its unique, disciplined choral performances to audiences in Chicago and environs. The name comes from the Italian for “beautiful voice.” For over thirty years, Bella Voce has cultivated the living tradition of choral music from the earliest chant to contemporary creations. For the 2018 holiday season, the ensemble performed Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, a cycle of songs for nine womens’ voices and harp. Britten composed the work during a month-long sea voyage from the U.S. to England in 1942. By chance he discovered a book of poetry at port in Nova Scotia and shaped the Middle English and Latin poems into a unity of song that continues to enchant with its Christmas vision of love and hope.