(It. testo, ‘witness’).
Singer or speaker in oratorios, cantatas, and sometimes operas who tells the basic story of the work, normally in recit. Among the first works to use a narrator was Monteverdi's dramatic madrigal Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (1624). In the Passion settings of the 17th and 18th cents. the narrator is often called the Evangelist, e.g, in Bach's St Matthew Passion. Narr. are used in many 20th‐cent. works, e.g. Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, Vaughan Williams's An Oxford Elegy, and Honegger's Le Roi David. The Male and Female Ch. in The Rape of Lucretia (1946) act as narrators.