BRUNSWICK — The Oratorio Chorale opens its 46th season in Brunswick and Portland with Handel’s “Israel in Egypt,” which depicts musically the Exodus story — the Israelites’ slavery in Egypt, their escape under Moses, the crossing of the Red Sea, and the subsequent exultant song of praise.

Concerts are set for 3 p.m. Saturday at Woodfords Congregational Church in Portland, and 3 p.m. Sunday at St. John the Baptist Church, Brunswick.

The 70-voice Oratorio Chorale will be joined by the Maine Chamber Orchestra and six soloists: sopranos Madeline Healey and Jennifer Bates, alto/countertenor Daniel Moody, tenor Andrew Fuchs, and basses Nathaniel Menifield and Hidenori Inoue.

Chorale Director Emily Isaacson connects the Passover story of the Israelites in Egypt with her early experiences around the Seder table with family and friends.

“The lasting impression of these festivities,” she says, “was not the good food and vibrant celebration, but the way a Seder emphasizes time travel. Central to Passover is not just the retelling of the Exodus story but the re-experiencing of the story, which asks us to empathize, remember and relive another person’s sorrow and joy.”

Isaacson has structured the chorale’s rendition of Handel’s piece to maintain the narrative thread of the Israelites’ story. Part I, “Exodus,” relates the Biblical account. Part II, “Moses’ Song,” combines a retelling of the story with the Hebrews’ celebration of freedom. Isaacson has chosen to cut some movements of the second part to keep the focus on the plot while also retaining Handel’s choruses .

Tickets are $25 in advance for adults, $12.50 for students and children’s tickets are free. At the door, tickets are $30, $15 and free, respectively. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 1-800-838-3006

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