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We have produced a Style Guide to help editors follow a standard format when editing a listing. If you are unsure how best to edit this programme please take a moment to read it.
Xibretto adapted from the Coventry Nativity
' Bethlehem ' was first performed on December
28, 1915, at Street, Somerset, during the Christmas Festival of the Glastonbury Festival School.
Characters :
A FEW years ago, Rutland Boughton founded a Music Drama on the Coventry Nativity
Play, and called it Bethlehem.
He has used old Carols for the Prelude and the Interludes (with one exception), and several such old tunes are used in the body of the work.
ACT I. After the opening Chorus of 'Alleluia,'
SCENE ONE opens at the home of Joseph and Mary at Nazareth. The Angel Gabriel announces the glad tidings that the Saviour is to be born. Joseph, after first doubting Mary, is repentant, and joyfully prepares to go with her to Bethlehem.
SCENE Two is a lonely moor at night. Three shepherds, Jem, Sym and Dave, meet. They hear the heavenly harmony, see the star in the East, and hail the joyful time foretold of old, when the Child shall be born.
The Carol ' 0 Come, All Ye Faithful' is sung as an Interlude.
SCENE THREE is the Stable. Mary is singing a lullaby to the babe. An Angelic Choir, unseen, sings, Gloria in Excelsis.' The shepherds come in and offer simple presents.
' The Holly and the Ivy ' is the Carol Interlude.
ACT II. SCENE ONE. An open place in Jerusalem; Herod's palace in the background. The three Wise Men, Zarathustra, Nubar and Merlin, meet and discuss the message of the star. The crowd argue about the news of the new-born King.
The Herald Calehas commands silence, and reverence for King Herod.
The door opens, and Herod is seen. He vaunts himself ' the mightiest conqueror that ever walked on ground.'
Calchas tells him that three Wise Men are seeking the new Child-King, and Herod, perturbed, commands that they be brought before him.
There is an air by Herodias, and then a dance of slaves, before the Wise Men are ushered in. They tell Herod what they know, and when they have gone he blazes into anger, vowing that he will find and kill the babe that, as he thinks, threatens his sovereignty. The Chorus ends the Scene with ' There Was a Star in David's Land did Appear.'
SCENE Two. The Stable. Mary sings to the Child a prophetic song, for she foresees His suffering on the Cross. The Wise Men come to worship and to present their gifts. Gabriel appears and warns Mary and Joseph to flee into Egypt. The Wise Men go out, singing, and the work ends with the Angelic chorus of ' Gloria in Excelsis Deo.'


Music By: Rutland Boughton
Unknown: G. H. Osborne
Unknown: Capt. W. A. Featherstone

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