Introducing John Adams' El Niño

A short introduction to John Adams' El Niño (Nativity Oratorio)

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Booking Info

Royal Festival Hall 2013/14

  • Please note that a transaction fee of £1.75 will be added to each order made online.
  • Tickets booked fewer than five working days before the date of the concert will be available for collection at the ticket office from 6.30pm on the day of the performance.
  • Concessions: 50% off all ticket prices for full-time students, benefit recipients (Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support or Pension Credit) and under-16s (maximum 4 per transaction. Not applicable to Family Concerts) only. Limited availability; appropriate cards will be checked on admission.

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The very best seats in the stalls, ensuring you the finest acoustic and view, are available as Premium seats.

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Book 3-4 concerts and receive a 10% discount
Book 5-7 concerts and receive a 15% discount
Book 8-10 concerts and receive a 20% discount
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Only nine tickets per concert can be bought online. Bookings of ten or more seats for the same concert are eligible for the group booking discount of 20%. Please call the London Philharmonic Orchestra Group Booking Line on 020 7840 4205 for further details.

Offline booking

London Philharmonic Orchestra ticket office: 020 7840 4242
Mon-Fri 10am-5pm. £2.75 transaction fee

Southbank Centre ticket office: 0844 847 9920
Daily 9.30am-8pm. £2.75 transaction fee. All ticketing staff at Southbank Centre can take typetalk calls.
In person at Southbank Centre: no transaction fee.

Minimum age

7.30pm concerts are not recommended for children of five years and under, and Southbank Centre staff reserve the right to refuse entry to young children for these events. We recommend our FUNharmonics concerts for children.



'We could only be humbled by the incredible achievement of the dedicated forces Vladimir Jurowski had mustered for the special occasion ... his London Philharmonic players registered the host of inspired ideas so beautifully that you wanted to weep at their transience'
David Nice, The Arts Desk, 15 December 2013

'The many-layered orchestral texture, shot through with Adams' ticking minimalist patterns, was rendered with delicate precision by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.'
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 15 December 2013

'The words of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz give the mezzo the most searching and aching "blues", something which Kelley O'Connor embraced most movingly. And then there was Rosemary Joshua digging deep (now we understood why the soloists needed to be amplified) to mine the malice and voice the outrage on behalf of slaughtered innocents everywhere.'
Edward Seckerson (blog), 15 December 2013

'The orchestra was on absolutely top form throughout, triumphing over Adams' challenges each time. The unanimity of high first violins calls for special comment ... The voices were exquisitely balanced, and capable of a most touching lyricism and impeccable legato lines. The London Philharmonic Choir, too, excelled. A very special evening.'
Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International, 15 December 2013

'Vladimir Jurowski conducted with surety and a steely command of the oratorio's meanings, while soloists Rosemary Joshua, Matthew Rose, and the three superb countertenors Daniel Bubeck, Brian Cummings and Steven Rickards all performed at the height of their game.' (5 stars)
Sam Smith, MusicOMH, 16 December 2013

'Much of the solo writing made a keen impact – especially the trio of close-harmony countertenors (Daniel Brubeck, Brian Cummings and Steven Rickards), as well as in the tenderness of Rosemary Joshua's lucid soprano, the commitment of Kelley O'Connor's spicy mezzo and the grand rhetoric of Matthew Rose's eloquent bass.'
George Hall, The Guardian, 16 December 2013

'Adams's musical invention seemed fresh and prolific, and Vladimir Jurowski was open to the undercurrent of repeated pulses. He kept the music on a tight rein, but allowed Adams's melodies to ebb and flow naturally.'
Nick Breckenfield, Classical Source, 16 December 2013

'Adams's chugging, minimalist rhythms were perfectly sprung; and everywhere the sound-world was of brilliant clarity, sparkling with the glitter of tuned percussion, and rising at its climaxes to textures that were positively rapturous. Where the original cast had drawn emotions from the earth, here we had the radiance of light and air.'
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 16 December 2013

El Niño – A Nativity Oratorio

The Nativity story transplanted to Hispanic America

7:30 PM, ​ Royal Festival Hall, London

John Adams El Niño (Nativity Oratorio)

Vladimir Jurowski conductor
Rosemary Joshua soprano
Kelley O’Connor mezzo soprano
Matthew Rose bass
Daniel Bubeck countertenor
Brian Cummings countertenor
Steven Rickards countertenor
London Philharmonic Choir
Trinity Boys Choir

Coloma St Cecilia Singers
Mark Grey sound designer

The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra commissioned John Adams to write a work for chorus and orchestra in the late 1990s, at about the same time as the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris asked for an opera from him. Adams’s idea to combine the two requests in an oratorio that could be staged resulted in what many believe is his finest work yet. El Niño tells a refracted version of the Nativity story transplanted to Hispanic America, presenting a feast of allusions in musical, theatrical and visual form – as joyful and rousing as Handel’s Messiah (its inspiration), as intense and direct as the Latin American texts that it uses, and as moving and sincere as anything Adams has written.

Listen to conductor Vladimir Jurowski and countertenors Daniel Bubeck and Brian Cummings talk about Adams's work.

Part of The Rest Is Noise, Southbank Centre’s year-long festival inspired by Alex Ross’ book The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century.

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