St Matthew Passion
Fri, 07. May 2021, 19:00
Johann Sebastian Bach [1685 – 1750]
The accounts of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Gospels are an integral part of the foundation of European culture. With his »St Matthew Passion« Johann Sebastian Bach established a musical ritual for the confessional community of his age. Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s legendary »Revival« of the work in Berlin in the 19th century heralded the beginning of an intense enthusiasm for concert-going among the affluent classes, a tradition that continues to this day. What meaning does the Passion hold, however, for a heterogeneous society in which Christian religion is becoming less and less relevant? What impact do its core motifs – love, hatred, terror, trust, fear and forgiveness - have on the audience in a secular opera house? At what remove are people listening? And what sense of community is likely to be generated in a performance of the work where the audience and amateur choruses from around Berlin are all invited to sing along?
Director Benedict von Peter’s award-winning and bar-setting productions over recent years seek to transpose the »architecture of a work« to the spatial dimensions of the opera houses in which they are performed. True to that approach, Benedikt von Peters will be filling the entire auditorium and main stage with his »St Matthew Passion«, which Bach himself conceived as a work featuring two choruses. There will be seating for visitors onstage whilst groups of chorus singers and orchestra musicians will be positioned in the area traditionally set aside for the public.
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach
First performed on 15th April, 1729 in Leipzig
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 25th April, 2021