Oratorio di San Francesco by Adriano Ariani (1877-1935) was first performed on October 3, 1916 by the Metropolitan Opera at Carnegie Hall. Ariani was a colleague of Arturo Toscanini, and his tenure at the Brooklyn Academy of Music prompted a renaissance of Italian Opera there.
With a Libretto in Latin by Father Sixtus Lagorio, the oratorio was written to honor the 50th anniversary of the St. Anthony of Padua Church in Manhattan and the founding of the Society of St. Francis in the United States. It features three main soloists: St. Francis, Historicus and St. Clare, with several others including the Voice of Temptation.
The work is written in 6 sections, covering large aspects of St. Francis’ life; including a Prelude - Introduction, Conversion, Institution of the 3 Orders, Francis and Clare, Temptation and Stigmata on Mount La Verna, and an Epilogue.
Preludium (Chorus, Historicus)
Part 1 - Conversion (Perugians & Assisians, Franciscus, Voces Invisibilium)
Part 2 - Institution of the Three Orders (Historicus, Vox Celestis, Chorus, Franciscus)
Part 3 - Francis and Clare (Franciscus, Clara, Poor Clares, Friars Minor)
Part 4 - On Mount Alverna, Temptation and Stigmata (Franciscus, Vox Tentationis, Historicus, Chorus)
Epilogue (Historicus, Chorus)
About the Composer
Adriano Ariani was born in Rome on November 25th 1877, he studied piano at the Rossini musical high school in Pesaro with M. Vitali and composition with P. Mascagni, graduating in August 1901. He continued his studies with F. Busoni, G. Sgambati and A. Rendano, and in 1905 he won the first prize of the Accademia di S. Cecilia with a Suite for orchestra, which was partially performed in a concert directed by P. Mascagni at the Academy of S. Cecilia.. He moved to New York where he worked as a conductor, and for six consecutive seasons he appeared alongside Arturo Toscanini at the Choral Institution. In 1916 his solo oratorio, choir and orchestra, The St. Francis Oratorio, was performed by the Metropolitan Opera at Carnegie Hall; later, in 1920, he also directed an important season of Italian operas at the theater of the Brooklyn Music Academy (New York).
In 1932, when he returned to Italy, he was taught piano and appointed vice director at the musical high school in Pesaro. In addition to the Oratorio, he composed are two symphonies, masses, vocal chamber music, piano selections, and a reduction for piano only of an opera written by hi friend Fr. Mascagni (Paris 1905). He died on January 28. 1935.