Presented at the Paramount Theatre, Oakland on December 2, 2010
The San Francisco Silent Film Festival, with the Pacific Film Archive and the Paramount Theatre presented Voices of Light/The Passion of Joan of Arc, an Oratorio with Silent Film on Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 7:30pm at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre. This event combined the performance of Richard Einhorn’s choral and orchestral work, Voices of Light, with Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc.
Dreyer’s depiction of the trial and execution of Joan of Arc is rightfully canonized as one of cinema’s masterpieces. The film combines the actual written records of the trial with a style that draws on French Impressionism, German Expressionism, and Soviet Montage to create a visually breathtaking and emotionally intimate portrayal of the young woman’s interrogation and last moments. As Joan, Maria Falconetti gives what “may be the finest performance ever recorded on film” (Pauline Kael).
The composition Voices of Light, scored by Richard Einhorn for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, “sublimely matches one of the great films of all time” (Chicago Sun-Times). Voices of Light was conducted by Dr. Mark Sumner and performed by a chorus of 200 voices and a twenty-two piece orchestra. Dr. Sumner and the University of California Alumni Chorus were joined by the women of UC Berkeley’s Perfect Fifth; tenor soloist Daniel Ebbers and baritone soloist Martin Bell; and UC Men’s and Women’s Chorales.