For their 2014 Lenten concerts, the Choir of Christ Church St Laurence is joined by the St Laurence Baroque Orchestra conducted by Dr Neil McEwan to present J. S. Bach’s mighty St John Passion, BWV 245.
Although Bach never wrote an opera, both his surviving Passions owe a great deal to the operatic tradition. The St John Passion is particularly dramatic, with its biting choruses and direct interplay between the characters of Jesus, Pilate, the Evangelist and other minor roles.
Bach sets this play in music with text that represents the Biblical story, moving relentlessly forward to its inevitable end, with reflective and declamatory arias and intense chorales and choruses that scarcely give the audience time to catch its breath. The innocence of the soprano aria Ich folge die gleichfals, the poignant chorus Ruht wohle and the wealth of familiar choral tunes are just some of the memorable elements of this masterpiece, first performed at the Nikolaikirche in Leipzig in 1724.
Scored for smaller forces than the later St Matthew Passion, the St John Passion nevertheless uses the orchestra with such ingenuity and integrity that the full ensemble is sometimes overwhelming in its intensity. The impact of the work is immediate and arresting.
Evangelist: Jacob Lawrence/ Christus: Craig Everingham/ Pilate: David Russell/ Soprano: Josie Ryan/ Alto: Hannah Fraser/Tenor: Joel Scott
Tickets $40 and $30, on sale at the door; seating is unreserved and accessible entry is available.
For more information, call the Parish Office on 9211 0560