By George Baker and K. A. Wright (Auth.)

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Romance has described the venue of his spiritual and musical ministrations as taking place "in a top back room" but in fact they were held in an oratory, and these early musical evenings led to the founding of a religious order, the "Congregation of the Oratory", known today 40 Oratorio 41 as The Oratorians. Cardinal Newman was an Oratorian and it was his deeply moving poem The Dream of Gerontius that inspired Sir Edward Elgar to compose one of the greatest oratorios of the twentieth century. Some of the most illustrious composers in the world have contributed magnificently to the rich library of music that rightly and properly comes under the category of oratorios.

The answer is simple. It is a vain attempt by the auditionees to pass themselves off as musical intellectuals. Musical intelligence and taste in the compilation of a programme are admirable things in themselves but what is required of a singer is evidence of the possession of a voice of good quality and some degree of skill in its use. The first lesson all embryo artists should learn is humility. Be true to yourselves and if you can succeed in doing simple things supremely well the day will not be far distant when you can "publish yourself of your own personality" in the greatest works of art.

Tosca without histrionics and free from melodrama! Why?

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