Musik & Theater

Gute Hirten (The Good Shepherds) 2017
The Vienna Boys' Choir celebrates Christmas with music about the shepherd life

* abgespielt

Shepherds play an important part in the Christmas story; their faith, their dignity and their constancy have been greatly praised. Without shepherds, our civilisation would not exist. In the Middle East of old, shepherds were important not only in nomadic cultures: the “just shepherd” was a title bestowed on royalty and gods in those ancient times in the East, and the “Good Shepherd” of the Bible is God Himself, who tends to His flock.

The Shepherds of the Bible represent mankind. Numerous Christmas carols tell how they were lying in the fields when they saw the angel (or angels), how they were afraid, how they overcame their fear and made their way to the stall in Bethlehem, and how they found the baby Jesus and rejoiced. In England these carols were sung by the Town Waits. In the Alps these songs were performed by small groups of itinerant singers who dressed as shepherds, and also acted out the story — something akin to the “Anglöckeln” tradition; a custom that no longer exists.

Whatever their origin, whatever other stories may also lie behind them, the tale of the Shepherds forges a strong link between the Biblical story and the individual. Gerald Wirth comments: “Whether you’re singing or listening, everybody can identify with the Shepherds. There’s a little of them in all of us. And a little of the sheep.”

Here at MuTh, the Good Shepherds has been a traditional feature for several years. The Vienna Boys’ Choir celebrate the occasion with a large contingent of performers, singing alongside Chorus Juventus and the Schubert-Akademie, with music by Bach and Handel, Gabrieli and Monteverdi, as well as traditional Christmas carols and “genuine” shepherd songs. And the audience takes part too: those who wish can simply sing along with Handel’s famous “Hallelujah Chorus” and, of course, “Silent Night”.

This year also sees the release of the film “Gute Hirten”, which features music by Bach and Handel as well as shepherd’s songs from Palestine, Ireland, Scandinavia and Africa.

Tickets: Band A €46/ B €40/ C €33; box seats €56

Children and young people: A €20 / B €15 / C €9