Beyond the Music with Deputy Director Linda Nelson

Let’s talk about the VISION in the music.

“Voices Appeared,” The Orlando Consort January 24 at 7:30 pm, Hannaford Hall

Joan of Arc was one of my heroes growing up. Was she one of yours? (Feel free to post your responses below.)


 width=Whether the extremely young, visionary, cross-dressing French freedom fighter (and later canonized saint) was your hero or not, we think you’ll swoon at the multimedia spectacle of the Orlando Consort singing a live sound track of music from the 15th century to Carl Theodor Dryer’s 1928 controversial silent film masterpiece, “La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc.”

The film’s mission is to help us encounter the young teen behind “the helmet and armour” (apologies to those of you who loved Joan just for that!). As the opening intertitles state, Dreyer hopes to make us witness, “in its inexorable advance to death at the stake” the “simple and human aspects of the interrogation and immolation of a Saint…we feel Joan’s suffering and, like the crowd, are horrified by her death,” writes a member of the Consort in program notes.



What is this music we are hearing, the “voices appearing” to Joan, and to us? What are those four men doing on stage beneath the film screen, “earbuds in, heads

down, reading from folders and consulting a laptop,” as described by Consort member Donald Greig?  By the way, Greig will be giving the pre-performance lecture at 6:30 p.m.—come listen in for a more full description of the Consort’s complex process.

This remarkable historical recreation of the film contains more than 50 meticulously researched excerpts of music from the actual period in which Joan fought victoriously, was tried and executed. From Gloria’s to Te Deum’s to several works by Guillaume Dufay, the leading composer of his generation, the Consort’s a capella renditions of these ancient songs, in combination with the film streaming above, will thrill and chill your heart.

And who are these four guys, the vocalists known as the acclaimed Orlando Consort? Originating in the UK in 1988, they regularly tour intercontinentally and record for Deutsche Grammophon and Hyperion Records, among others. They’ve achieved a reputation as being “one of Europe’s most expert and consistently challenging groups performing repertoire from the years 1050 to 1550.”

The story of St. Joan is more than 600 years old, and so compelling it has been told and re-told in many formats. The Orlando Consort’s “Voices Appeared” brings her visions and history alive in a way you’ve never before experienced.



* Portland Ovations is a nonprofit organization guided by our vision: as part of providing so many great, entertaining performances each year, we work to inspire a curious and imaginative community, where the experience of the performing arts is a vital part of everyday life.




Post by: Linda Nelson