What is L'ENFANCE DU CHRIST?
IN Series is collaborating with Foundry United Methodist Church for a one-of-a-kind musical-theatrical experience exploring the nexus of art, faith, and justice. Hector Berlioz's immortal holiday oratorio L'ENFANCE DU CHRIST (The Childhood of Christ) tells, with dramatic choral and orchestral music of unparalleled beauty and power, the story of families fleeing violence and persecution in their homelands to find welcome hospitality in a foreign place. This rare staging of the piece invites the participation of the wider Washington, D.C. community, not only as witnesses of the fully immersive performance, but also in making the piece. There are a number of ways YOU can particpate in bringing this piece to life, as performers or as creative collaborators. It is a unique way to deepen your experience of this time of year, and to be part of making music, theater, and opera more vibrant and more meaningful.
Read on below to see how you might be a part of this special project.
This production is totally immersive, meaning audiences can choose to watch as in a traditional production, or to be part of the production itself, to move with the piece during the performances and take on the various roles in the piece (soothsayers, parents of the innocents, shepherds or families in the migrant caravan, those who welcome the strangers). To accomplish this, a group of GUIDES will be staged as part of the cast of the production, trained to lead the audience throughout the performance space, and also invited to help create the concept of this unique performance.
Anyone interested in this way is asked to be part of rehearsals on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month of November, evening rehearsals the week before the performances (December 1st through 6th), and the performances which are December 7th, 8th, and 14th. For more information or to sign up you can email Cara Gonzalez at Cara@INSeries.org.
For those who wish to participate in making this extraordinary piece, but who don’t wish or aren’t able to perform in it, we have a special stream of participation called MAKERS. For this project we are inviting the community to work with local artists to create an installation art piece that will consume Foundry United Methodist Church’s historic sanctuary in beauty and meaning. This is a place where we can use your talents whatever they may be (drawing, sewing, sculpting, calligraphy, or things we haven't yet imagined!). On Saturdays in November, as YOU are able, you will be invited to come to workdays where the art installation is dreamed up and then constructed.
For more information or to sign up you can email Cara Gonzalez at Cara@INSeries.org.
Berlioz’s score for L’ENFANCE DU CHRIST is one of the great oratorios – featuring music of incredible depth and beauty. If you are a singer, even an amateur, we invite you to consider being part of the choral family for this project. This choir will be formed from members of Foundry United Methodist Church’s choral forces and members of the community, and will be accompanied by a new orchestral arrangement of the piece – all conducted by maestro Stanley Thurston. The choir will rehearse on Wednesday nights in November and evenings throughout the week before the performances (December 1st through 6th) which will take place on December 7th, 8th, and 14th.
For more information or to sign up you can email Cara Gonzalez are Cara@INSeries.org.
As part of this unique project, we are offering a series of free events to help you lean into the deeper resonances of L'ENFANCE DU CHRIST. In a series of four drop-in LEAN IN sessions, participants are guided through conversations and experiences based on the themes of this masterpiece. Sessions occur on Sundays at 12:30pm, at Foundry United Methodist Church at 1500 16th Street NW, and are open to anyone without any prior reservation or attendance.
GOD AS A CHILD - October 27th - IN Series Artistic Director leads an exploration on the history, structure, meaning, and contemporary resonances of Berlioz's L'ENFANCE DU CHRIST. While listening to selections of the music, meditating upon the text, and seeking out modern parallels, participants will be guided through this mystical musical triptych.
ART AND JUSTICE - November 10th - Scholar and theologian Rev. Mark Schaefer will lead a conversation about how faith and art both demand, and are tooled for, acts of justice. How does our belief compell us towards more just living and just asking, and how has art been part of a continuing jounrey towards greater expressions of justice in global conversations?
ART AND FAITH - November 17th - Kevin Newell has spent much of his professional life at the cross-roads of faith and art. This session will be a conversation about the making of art as a spiritual practice, exploring how creation mirrors the divine and helps deepen our experience of the present, with focus on historical and contemporary examples.
TURNING TURNING - November 24th - In a final immersive and participatory session Bedi'a, a Sufi practitioner of whirling, will collaborate with beat-boxer and breath artist Shodekeh in making a one-of-a-kind experience that teaches the technique and true meaning of whirling as an artistic practice which opens us spiritually to a liminal space, accompanied by music made wholly of the breath that is inside each of us. Participants will be taught and then guided through this meditative experience.
For more information please contact Cara Gonzalez at Cara@INSeries.org.