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Led by violinist Jeremy Rhizor, the early-music ensemble presents the 1687 oratorio  by Giovanni Lorenzo Lulier, “Santa Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi,” the story of a Christian mystic from the 16th century.

$20 suggested donation at the door.

The Story

Lulier’s musical drama explores the story of the Italian mystic Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi. As a teenage girl, she hears the call of God and convinces her parents to let her enter a convent.

The oratorio starts right in the middle of an argument as the saint tries to convince her parents that she should enter the convent, and she works to strengthen her own resolve to that end. Like many parents, the saint’s would like to have grandchildren—something that they will not have if she becomes a professed celibate. The choice is between two apparent goods—family life and the religious life—and the saint must choose (with the cooperation of her parents) the greater good that corresponds to her call in life.

The saint is discovered rapt in ecstasy by
her parents.
The saint receives the habit of the Carmelite Order.

Before she became the nun known as Maria Maddelena, the saint was called Lucrezia at home. She engaged in self-flagellation, wore a crown of thorns, and had many mystical experiences even before her teens. This quite unusual teenager joins the convent in the second act of the oratorio and becomes aware of greater pain and suffering in her future. Yet even in this context, her parents begin to see that their daughter is where she belongs—a bride of Christ, or, as her father puts it, “You have flown to heaven, and been transformed into stars.”