Definition of oratorio in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌɒrəˈtɔːrɪəʊ/

noun (plural oratorios)

A large-scale, usually narrative musical work for orchestra and voices, typically on a sacred theme, performed without costume, scenery, or action. Well-known examples include Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, and Haydn’s The Creation.
Example sentences
  • Born in Edinburgh, he was a violinist, conductor and teacher whose compositions included operas, oratorios, songs, concertos, chamber and orchestral works.
  • She has performed in many operas, operettas, musicals and oratorios.
  • In fact, the work as a whole is more on the scale of an oratorio like Handel's Messiah than of any typical jazz recording.


Italian, from ecclesiastical Latin oratorium 'oratory', from the musical services held in the church of the Oratory of St Philip Neri in Rome.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ora|torio

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