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‘Thy Will Be Done’ Easter Oratorio Returns to Lexington

Thy Will Be Done is a 90-minute Easter oratorio for soloists, choir and orchestra composed by Lexington’s own Angela Rice.

Metropolitan Opera tenor Gregory Turay, who premiered in the role of Jesus, raved about Rice’s “very singable, beautiful music,” and audiences have been packing performances every year since to rejoice in the 30 pieces about Jesus’ life, ministry, crucifixion, resurrection and impact.


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New Easter cantata brings composer’s favorite Scriptures to music
Lexington-Herald Leader, Rich Copley

When Angela Rice reads Scripture, she hears music.

“I started studying Scripture and I started thinking how I would like to put music to my favorite texts,” the Lexington composer says. “Going through the New Testament, starting with the book of John, I would hit passages and think, I would really like to put these to music.

“These are meaningful to me at this point in my life, and I would like to match the beauty of the text to beautiful music.”

So she did. 

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Oratorio ‘Thy Will Be Done’ will be done – someday
Copious Notes, Rich Copley

When the first performances of Angela Rice’s oratorio Thy Will Be Done were completed in 2012, the composer was far from finished with the piece.

“All of these ideas came ­flooding into my head after the first performance, of things that needed to be there: the temptation of Jesus in the desert; Jesus saying, ‘I’m the way, the truth and the light;’ and I wanted to do a theme on forgiveness, because that wasn’t in there: ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ There were very important themes and messages that Jesus brought into his ministry that didn’t make it that first year.”

So she wrote nine new pieces for the work’s performance last year, and four additional pieces for concerts this week.

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Notebook: Thy Will Be Done world premiere
Copious Notes, Rich Copley

If you walk away from this week’s world premiere performances of Angela Rice’s Thy Will Be Done wondering what else she’s written, we’ll save you the trouble.


The performance program notes her achievements as a performing musician and an arts supporter with both her money and time. But as her voice teacher, Lexington music icon Phyllis Jenness notes, “until last September she had never written a lick.”

Yet, Sunday afternoon, the audience in Central Christian Church was treated to an hour of her works: the Thy Will Be Done and a shorter work, Martyred Maid, based on the story of Joan of Arc. We also heard an Italian version of the Lord’s Prayer, O Padre Nostro, which appears in the English cantata.

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