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Johannes-Passion

Johann Sebastian Bach 

An opera that does not say its name and offers the most intense evocations of the last days of Christ

Hans-Christoph Rademannn © Holger Schneider

Cast

Johanna Winkel soprano
Wiebke Lehmkuhl alto
Nicholas Mulroy tenor
Peter Harvey baritone
Matthias Winckhler bass

Hans-Christoph Rademann direction
Gaechinger Cantorey Orchestra and Choir

Approximate running time : 2h

Sung in German with French and English subtitles 

Setting the last days of the life of Christ to music is a tradition which dates back to the early days of Christianity. The first written sources date from the 9th century. The genre developed very little until the 14th century when differentiated roles (narrator, Christ, etc.) were gradually introduced. It was the Lutheran reform of the early 16th century which established the credentials of the form by stipulating that the text must no longer be sung in Latin but in German so that everyone could understand it and it also became much more richly polyphonic under the influence of Italian opera, alternating recitative, arias and major choral sections. The St John Passion, composed in 1723-24 for Leipzig, was the first work on this vast scale written for the city where Bach had recently settled and for which he would write over half of the cantatas for his Christmas Oratorio. Today, this majestic work, with its strikingly beautiful arias for soloists and intense choral sections, is held to be one of the composer’s finest achievements.

Production MPSZ Associates

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