22nd April 2001
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Singing the story of Solomon

By Ruhanie Perera
"Zadok the Priest and Nathan the Prophet anointed Solomon King. 
And all the people rejoiced and said: God save the King. Allelujah. 
May the King live forever. Long live the king." 

This is the Cantata Singers telling the story of King Solomon in song. Their harmonies filled the Kollupitiya Methodist Church, where they were practising last week, the famous stained glass window of Christ, the Good Shepherd, providing the perfect backdrop for their music. The Cantata Singers comprise "a group of friends who come together for the pure joy of singing". The group was formed in 1967 by nine friends under a name which simply means 'a piece to be sung'.

'Solomon', considered the most lavish of Handel's oratorios, was written for two choirs, portraying the people of Israel, narrators and bystanders and for soloists portraying the individuals of importance during the period of Solomon. Says Conductor Satyendra Chellappa,"It is dominantly pomp and pageantry, royalty and awesomeness". This particular work highlights the coronation of Solomon by Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet, his marriage and his great wisdom through the familiar tale of the two women who come to him to settle their dispute over a child they both claim is theirs.

"It's not just a lovely story, but it's a story with some beautiful music," says Mr. Chellappa explaining why he chose 'Solomon'. 

Mahen Pieris of Revelation fame sings the part of Solomon while Niranjala Joseph takes the part of his wife. Viranga Wickremaratne portrays the high priest, Zadok. Shiranee Mills and Nishanthi CanagaRetna take on the two contrasting dramatic roles of the women locked in a battling musical duet.

Soundarie David and Neranjan de Silva who will be accompanying the singers will add to the performance their own special kind of music. 'Solomon' will be performed at the Kollupitiya Methodist Church on April 27 at 7.00 p.m. Programmes for the show are available at Titus Stores, Liberty Plaza and Duplication Road. 

The proceeds of this performance will go to the Retired Methodist Workers Fund and for the ongoing projects of 'Nest' in the National Hospital to care for burn victims and rehabilitate those who suffer from mental trauma..

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