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Bach’s St. John Passion: Not to be missed

March 15, 2011

J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion is one of the greatest masterpieces of the baroque era, if not all time.  Bach’s ability to tell a story through his artful manner of setting text to music is well-demonstrated in this dramatic and moving work.  The original Latin title Passio secundum Johannem translates to “The Suffering According to John”, and this weekend Seattle audiences have the opportunity to hear this sacred oratorio performed by the Portland Baroque Orchestra along with sololists from Montreal’s Les Voix Baroques and vocalists from Cappella Romana.   The reviews so far have been glowing, heightening the anticipation for this not-to-be-missed performance.

Saturday’s concert was not only a landmark performance by the ensemble but also the strongest performance of any kind this season. – Oregon Live

J. S. Bach’s two surviving settings of the Passion story are pillars of Western art music. The emotional intensity and directness of Bach’s setting of St. John the Evangelist’s text has been the subject of much musicological discussion in recent years. As she did for her Grammy-nominated recording of Bach’s Orchestral Suites, Monica Huggett will reexamine the original, more intimate scoring of this work, dating from 1724.

The text translation can be found here, which might be helpful to review before the performance if you are unfamiliar with the work.

The cast includes:

Monica Huggett, artistic director and violin

Charles Daniels, tenor, Evangelist

with Les Voix Baroques (Montréal, Canada):
Shannon Mercer, soprano;
Matthew White, alto;
Jacques-Olivier Chartier, tenor;
Joshua Hopkins, baritone;
Tyler Duncan, baritone.

and the ripieno singers from Cappella Romana:
Catherine van der Salm,
Melanie Downie Zupan,
Kerry McCarthy,
Stephanie Kramer, Cahen Taylor, and
David Stutz.

More information is available on the Early Music Guild website.


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