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Considering Matthew Shepard: An Oratorio
November 1, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The American University Chamber Singers will sing in the first Mid-Atlantic hearing of an oratorio based on the life and tragic death of Matthew Shepard.
In October 1998, 21-year-old openly gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, dragged into the prairie, tied to a fence and severely beaten. Shepard was found the next day by a passing cyclist and died six days later. The murder brought national and international attention to the need for state and federal hate-crime legislation involving crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
Created in 2016 by award-winning composer-conductor Craig Hella Johnson, the oratorio incorporates a breath of musical styles. Texts for the work are drawn from passages of Shepard’s college journal, newspaper reports, testimony by his mother at the trial of her son’s murderers, Native American prayers, poets including Lesléa Newman and Michael Dennis Browne, Rumi, William Blake, Dante, and others.
The Washington Post called Considering Matthew Shepard a transcendent work that leads us to “a higher understanding of the human condition, enabling us to endure.” Post-concert “talk-back” discussions will take place following each show.
Owing to the nature of the subject matter, this performance may not be suitable for young audience members.