London's Philharmonia to bring `Creation' concert to Baltimore

February 12, 2000|By Holly Selby | Holly Selby,SUN STAFF

The Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus of London next month will perform Franz Joseph Haydn's "The Creation" in Baltimore as part of an international concert tour commissioned by Pope John Paul II to celebrate religious diversity in the year 2000.

The performances, scheduled for March 26 and 27, will be at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the only U.S. venue for the concert series.

"It's enormously appropriate that we should have an event celebrating the interfaith community given the history of Maryland as the first place in the English-speaking world which gave legal encouragement to religious freedom," said Cardinal William H. Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore.

Keeler added that the musical selection was fitting. "The words of the libretto of `The Creation' are based on words from the opening verses of the Book of Genesis and these are words that are sacred in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions. And in this sense, we can find -- though we have many differences in our beliefs -- a way of standing together in awe of the Creator with great music building a bridge."

The Baltimore concerts will be conducted by Gilbert Levine. They are being held in honor of work done by the World Conference on Religion and Peace-USA, an organization that cultivates collaboration between members of different faiths.

Other stops on the tour include the Vatican (in honor of the pope's 80th birthday); the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris; Westminster Cathedral in London; and venues in the cities of Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem.

The concerts will be broadcast (on an as-yet unscheduled date) on Maryland Public Television. A random drawing will be held to select a limited number of tickets for the general public. Requests for one or two tickets may be made to "Creation Concert tickets," 320 Cathedral St., Baltimore 21201 and must be received by March 8. Tickets will be mailed March 13 to those whose entries were selected.

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