Musicians in Ordinary Presents Evening of Renaissance Music Oct. 30

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The Principal’s Music Series  at St. Michael’s College
The Renaissance artist Michelangelo was so besotten with all things ancient he placed several pagan Greek and Roman oracles among the Old Testament prophets on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.  The avant-garde music and faux-prophetic texts of Prophetiae Sibyllarum by Orlando Lassus were similarly inspired, as The Musicians In Ordinary illustrate in performance Friday,  Friday, October 30, 8 p.m. at Fr. Madden Hall, Carr Bldg., St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, 100 St Joseph St., Toronto. 
The Renaissance/early Baroque ensemble of soprano Hallie Fishel, lutenist John Edwards and friends performs what Edwards calls “the weird and wonderful” settings of Orlando Lassus (1532-1594) about the birth of the Messiah, in the voice of Graeco-Roman prophecies.  The concert also features intricate, beautiful and rarely heard lute fantasias by Lassus’ contemporary Melchior Neusidler. 
Joining MIO for this performance will be Rebecca Claborn, mezzo-soprano; Ben Kim, tenor; and Sean Nix, bass. 
Michael O’Connor, music director of St. Michael`s College, will deliver a pre-concert talk that puts the music in context, at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets, $30, $20 for students and seniors, are available at the door.  More information is available by calling 416-535-9956 or visiting
“The Sistine Chapel ceiling,” John Edwards said, “portrays some of the Sybils in between Old Testament prophets.  The Lassus is part of this Renaissance campaign to ‘Christianize’ their Greek and Roman literary heroes, just as Dante does in The Divine Comedy, with the Roman poet Virgil leading him through Hell and Purgatory.
The music itself is unusual for its time.  Edwards added, “Lassus’s music is chromatic and dissonant in a way that still shocks the ear today, perhaps as Lassus tries to evoke the alienness of the ancient religion,” 
More information about the Prophitiae Sibyllarum is at

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