Volume 8, Issue 77  |  September 26, 2023SubscribeAdvertise

Share this story

Pacific Chorale opens season on October 7 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts with a stunning evening of music and film

Pacific Chorale, led by Artistic Director Robert Istad and celebrated for its artistic innovation and compelling performances, launches its 56th season with Voices of Light/The Passion of Joan of Arc, a spectacular evening of music and film on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 pm, at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

pacific chorale orchestra

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Alliance Artist Management

Pacific Chorale opens its season on October 7 at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall with a spectacular cinematic event featuring Richard Einhorn’s “Voices of Light /The Passion of Joan of Arc”

The cinematic event features Richard Einhorn’s “brilliantly effective” (Washington Post) 1994 oratorio inspired by and performed live to director Carl Dreyer’s 1928 silent film masterpiece, The Passion of Joan of Arc. Einhorn’s evocative work, written for orchestra, chorus and soloists, provides a haunting backdrop to the restored version of Dreyer’s cinematic tour de force, considered by many critics to be among the greatest films ever made. USA Today proclaims it “the most successful melding yet of classic cinema and live music.” Einhorn draws primarily on the writings of medieval women such as Hildegard of Bingen and Christine de Pizan, for his text, and, at points, even includes the words of Joan of Arc herself.

pacific chorale conductor

Click on photo for a larger image

Renée Maria Falconetti’s legendary portrayal of Joan of Arc 

Einhorn’s unique music has been described as “hauntingly beautiful,” “sensational” and “overwhelming in its emotional power.” He is one of a small handful of composers who not only reaches a large, worldwide audience, but whose music receives widespread critical praise for its integrity, emotional depth and craft.

Einhorn’s Voices of Light, described as an “opera with silent film” has been hailed as “a great masterpiece of contemporary music” and “a work of meticulous genius. “The featured soloists include Pacific Chorale members Alexandria Burdick, soprano; Rebecca Hasquet, soprano; Stephanie Shepson, mezzo-soprano; Jane Hyun-Jung Shim, mezzo-soprano; Jason Francisco, tenor and Fernando Muñoz, bass.

The Passion of Joan of Arc was thought to have been lost in a warehouse fire, but a single print of Dreyer’s film was discovered in a janitor’s closet of a Norwegian mental institution in 1981, which, subsequently, “was digitally restored to pristine condition” (Bright Lights Film Journal). The film, based on the actual 15th century transcripts of St. Joan’s trial for heresy, chronicles Joan of Arc’s trial in the hours leading up to her execution. Dressed as a boy, she led French troops in a defeat against British occupiers during the Hundred Years’ War but was later captured and tried by French clergy loyal to the British and condemned to death by burning at the stake for her belief that she was spurred to action by religious visions.

Pioneering director Dreyer employed an array of techniques – expressionistic lighting, interconnected sets, painfully intimate close-ups – to immerse viewers in the experience along with Joan. Of Renée Maria Falconetti’s legendary portrayal of Joan of Arc, the late renowned film critic Pauline Kael decreed, “It may be the finest performance ever recorded on film.”

paciific chorale crown

Click on photo for a larger image

Dreyer used expressionistic lighting, interconnected sets and painfully intimate close-ups

Istad, a Grammy Award-winning conductor who “fashions fluent and sumptuous readings” (Voice of OC) with his “phenomenal” artistry (Los Angeles Times), was appointed Pacific Chorale’s artistic director in 2017. Under his leadership, the chorus continues to expand its reputation for excellence for delivering fresh, thought-provoking interpretations of beloved masterworks, rarely performed gems and newly commissioned pieces. In July 2023, he led Pacific Chorale’s first international tour in seven years, conducting performances at leading venues in Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Pacific Chorale’s 2023-24 Season is made possible, in part, by generous support from Platinum Season Sponsor Phillip N. and Mary A. Lyons.

The Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts is located at 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.

For tickets ($28-$147) and more information, visit www.pacificchorale.org, or call 714.662.2345.

Who we are:

Shaena Stabler, President & CEO - Shaena@StuNewsNewport.com

Lana Johnson, Editor - Lana@StuNewsNewport.com

Tom Johnson, Publisher - Tom@StuNewsNewport.com

Dianne RussellDuncan Forgey, Gary Sherwin, Len Bose, Nancy Gardner and Sara Hall are our writers and/or columnists.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Email: Shaena@StuNewsNewport.com for questions about advertising


Email: Lana@StuNewsNewport.com with news releases, letters, etc.


*The content and ads in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the publisher.

© 2023 Stu News Newport, LLC  |  All Rights Reserved.