The Oratorio

The Oratorio

The camera takes in the interior…  finally settling on a former altar boy, now a gray-haired man… The man is Martin Scorsese. And he’s there to geek out

– Gabe Cohn, The New York Times

“Charming and uplifting.”

– Chris Bird, Catholic News Service

“Populated with unforgettable real-life characters.”

– Christina Knight, PBS 13 Music Dish

“This window into an artistic recreation might just help you think of the artform [opera] in a new way.”

– Steve Greene, Indie Wire

Martin Scorsese tells the story of a single performance in 1826 that forever changed America’s cultural landscape with the introduction of Italian opera to New York City. This watershed event was lost to history for almost 200 years but was recently rediscovered and re-staged by an Italian opera company at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in NYC’s Little Italy.

The Oratorio includes stories of the original performance and those who made it possible: Mozart’s librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte, debt-ridden and selling groceries in NYC; Maria Malibran, a young singer considered opera’s first diva; Pierre Toussaint, a freed slave and the chief benefactor in building this church.

Hosted by Martin Scorsese with insight from church parishioner and comedian Jim Gaffigan, The Oratorio is a documentary about the richness of the immigrant experience as it examines bridges between the Old World and the new and explores the beginning of a cultural awakening in America.

Running Time: 66 minutes