oratorio

A musical composition for solo voices, chorus, orchestra, and organ set to a religious text generally taken from Holy Scripture. Said to have originated in Saint Philip Neri's oratory, the first of these sacred dramas, the "Anima e Corpo" by Emiglio del Cavaglieri, was performed in the oratory of the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella, 1600, and the name "Oratorio" applied to the new form about 60 years later.

New Catholic Dictionary

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