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Repertoire

The Marionettes Chorale’s repertoire spans a wide range of musical styles, from 16th-century Gabrielli to 20th-century Messiaen, as well as opera, spirituals, Caribbean and international folk songs, and calypso. It has always championed Trinidad and Tobago’s music, which it has performed extensively on overseas tours. The Chorale also has had the honour of having work dedicated to it by composers including the late Dr. John Havelock Nelson, Stewart Hylton Edwards and Alma Pierre.

Marionettes and Pan-Am Jet North Stars at Queen’s Hall in 1968, conducted by co-founder Jocelyn Pierre

Voices & Steel

The Marionettes was the first first choral group to blend voices with steel, performing with the Pan Am Jet North Stars at Queen’s Hall in 1968. Since that historic moment, the Marionettes have been accompanied by many top steel orchestras — Pan Am North Stars, Trinidad All Stars, Renegades, Renegades Youth Orchestra, Desperadoes and Skiffle Bunch. All Stars and Renegades feature on several of the Marionettes’ CDs.

Caribbean premieres of world-renowned work

The Marionettes has introduced many contemporary choral works to audiences in the Caribbean, including Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (1988); Fanshawe’s African Sanctus (1997); Vaughan Williams’s Five Mystical Songs (1982), Britten’s Ceremony of Carols (1995); Poulenc’s Gloria (1992); and Leonard Bernstein’s Missa Brevis (1993) and Chichester Psalms (1990); Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man (A Mass for Peace) – including the accompanying film – in 2012; and the first full production of Les Misérables in the English-speaking Caribbean.

The Marionettes perform at the Organisation of American States’ Hall of the Americas in 1997

Trinidad & Tobago ambassadors

The choir has been lauded internationally for their performance of Caribbean calypso, folksong and steelband favourites. They have commissioned choral arrangements of Caribbean and national folk songs, calypso and other music, to perform both at home and overseas, including the work of: David Rudder, André Tanker, Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharpe, Ella Andall, Ken ‘Professor’ Philmore, Ray Holman, Lord Blakie (Carlton Joseph), the Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco), Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts), John Arnold, and Desmond Waithe.

Opera & Broadway

The Marionettes have provided the chorus for several opera productions, including Mozart’s The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro, and have presented substantial segments of Broadway musicals and operettas. In 2011, the presented a landmark production of perhaps the most popular opera in the world: Bizet’s Carmen. The 2014 — and with a repeat in 2015 — the Marionettes presented the first full production of Les Misérables in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Classical

  • Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (1990) and Magnificat (2000)
  • Beethoven’s Symphony 9th Symphony (Choral) (finale: Ode to Joy1998 & 2000)
  • Bernstein’s Missa Brevis (1993) and Chichester Psalms (1990)
  • Borodin’s “Polovstian Dances” (from Prince Igor, with international 45th anniversary orchestra, 2009)
  • Bizet’s Carmen (2011: full production with international orchestra; & 2004: excerpts with the Trinidad & Tobago National Sinfonia)
  • Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes (1975 & 2000) and Gypsy Songs (2000)
  • Britten’s Ceremony of Carols (1995)
  • Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert (Jazz Mass, 2009, excerpts)
  • Fauré’s Requiem (1991)
  • Fanshawe’s African Sanctus (1997, excerpts)
  • Gabrieli’s 3-choir Magnificat (1978 & 1999)
  • G. Gabrieli’s 2-choir Magnificat (1986)
  • Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess (1978, excerpts)
  • Handel’s Messiah (with the Pan Am Samaroo Jets steel orchestra, 1974)
  • Haydn’s Mass in D Minor (Nelson Mass, 1981) and Te Deum (2005)
  • Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace (2012, including film)
  • Mendelssohn’s Hear My Prayer (1981)
  • Mozart’s Solemn Vespers and Coronation Mass (2006, excerpts)
  • Mozart’s The Magic Flute (1979) and The Marriage of Figaro (1977), both for the Trinidad & Tobago Opera Company
  • Orff’s Carmina Burana (1989 & 1994 with Belvedere, the Lorna Mae Mayers Chorale and Stentor Chorale)
  • Poulenc’s Gloria (1992)
  • Puccini’s Messa di Gloria (2009, excerpts)
  • Robert Ray’s Gospel Mass (2009, excerpts)
  • Schubert’s Mass in G (1986)
  • Vaughan Williams’s Five Mystical Songs (1982) and Fantasia on Christmas Carols (1991)

Broadway (concert excerpts)

Just some of the Broadway/West End shows from which the choir has sung concert excerpts:

  • Aida (2007)
  • Cats (1996)
  • Candide (1996 & 2008)
  • Chicago (2007)
  • Fiddler On The Roof (2003 & 2004)
  • Hairspray (2003 & 2008)
  • Jesus Christ Superstar (2003)
  • Les Misérables (2003, 2004, 2010)
  • Man of La Mancha (1999)
  • Miss Saigon (2003)
  • My Fair Lady (2007)
  • Oklahoma! (1999)
  • Oliver (1999 & 2004)
  • Phantom of the Opera (1996)
  • Showboat (1999)
  • Ragtime (2008)
  • South Pacific (1999)
  • Sister Act (1996 & 2008)
  • The Sound of Music (1999)
  • West Side Story (1996, 2008 & 2010)
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