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Getting a Handel on Things

Posted on November 11th, 2005

The Eastern Mennonite University music department is sponsoring a presentation by Linda Childs 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, in room 123 of the seminary building at Eastern Mennonite University.

Dr. Childs, a mezzo-soprano who performs throughout the United States and Europe, will speak on “A View of Early Christian Persecution: Handel’s Oratorio ‘Theodora’ as staged by Peter Sellars.”

“Theodora” tells the story of a Christian martyr who died in Antioch during the Emperor Diocletian’s persecution around 304 A.D. Childs will explore the historical aspects of the piece, the Roman Empire’s desire to maintain “pax et ordo” and how that conflicted with the early Christians’ beliefs, especially as reflected in the role of women as early church leaders and martyrs.

A native of Hickory, N.C., Childs received her undergrad degrees from Duke University and San Francisco State University and her masters and doctor of musical arts degrees from Arizona State University. She is currently based in New York City.

“This should be a fascinating presentation of how Handel’s 18th century oratorio, staged by a 20th century opera director, can shed new light on this important period in the history of Christianity,” said Jennifer A. Cooper, instructor in music at EMU.

The program, sponsored by EMU’s music department, is open to everyone free of charge.

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