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He Shall Prepare a Way

An Opera by Christopher J. Madsen

He Shall Prepare a Way is an opera based on events from the opening chapters of The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The story takes place in Jerusalem in 600 B.C. and explores themes of faith, doubt, forgiveness, revelation, family, and trusting in the Lord.

CJ started work on the opera in 2018, at the request of a BYU opera professor who lamented the lack of operatic works based on Book of Mormon texts. In October 2019, CJ performed a first draft of the opera as a concert sing-through. It featured a cast and chorus of over 70, including future Metropolitan Opera winner and BYU vocal graduate Jonah Hoskins. Three scenes were later featured in BYU’s Opera Scenes production in February 2020.

In 2021, CJ completed a second draft of the score and orchestraded the work for a 20-piece ensemble. CJ and his wife Samm are in the process of producing a fully-staged production of the opera, to premier in Provo, Utah, on April 8–10.

Why This Project?

One of CJ’s career goals is to tell the stories and messages of The Book of Mormon through compelling musical performances. His quest began in 2016, when he composed One Fold, One Shepherd, a choral/orchestral work that took its text from Christ’s visit to the Americas recorded in 3 Nephi. That work has been performed 7 times to over 5,000 people in the Utah and Salt Lake valleys, and it was released as an album in 2019.

CJ feels strongly that the Book of Mormon’s message about Christ must be taken throughout the world and shared in a variety of mediums.

“When I think of the Book of Mormon, I think of the word power. The truths of the Book of Mormon have the power to heal, comfort, restore, succor, strengthen, console, and cheer our souls.”

—President Russell M. Nelson