J S Bach Saint John Passion

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March 2024
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The story of the Saviour's sufferings, told within the framework defined by liturgical traditions, is the subject of many great works from music history by composers ranging from Schütz to Penderecki. According to public opinion, the two most significant monuments in the genre of the passion are the two by Johann Sebastian Bach: the earlier John and, dating from three years later, the other based on the text of the Gospel of Matthew. What both works share is how they entrust the greatest task to the tenor part of the Evangelist: he is the narrator of the story. Analysts consider the shorter Saint John Passion to be the more dramatic and direct in tone, while the longer Saint Matthew Passion is presented more abstractly and with more philosophical content. In addition to the artistic form of the original performance, the Saint John Passion went through three later versions: this concert presents the audience with the original version of the composition, consisting of recitatives, arias, choruses and chorales, alternating between narratives and moments of reflection. The team of Hungarian, Austrian and Swiss soloists are outstanding connoisseurs of the style, and György Vashegyi, the conductor of the Purcell Choir and Orfeo Orchestra, which he has directed since founding them more than thirty years, is Hungary's leading interpreter of the Bach passions.

Program and cast

Conductor:

György Vashegyi

Featuring:

soprano

Ágnes Kovács

alto

Eszter Balogh

tenor

Zoltán Megyesi, Bernhard Berchtold

bass

Stephan MacLeod

Purcell Choir

Orfeo Orchestra (on period instruments)

Palace of Arts Müpa Budapest

When Müpa Budapest, Hungary and its capital's new cultural hub, opened in 2005, it was built to represent more than 100 years of Hungarian cultural history. As a conglomeration of cultural venues, the building has no precedent in 20th century Hungarian architecture and has no peers in the whole of Central Europe.


The creators of this ambitious project, the Trigránit Development Corporation, prime contractor Arcadom Construction and the Zoboki, Demeter and Partners Architectural Office, were driven by the desire to create a new European cultural citadel as part of the new Millennium City Centre complex along the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Danube waterfront. The result is a facility whose construction quality, appearance, functionality and 21st century technological infrastructure makes it ideally suited to productions of the highest standard. The building is also highly versatile and equipped to host performances of any genre and almost any scale.

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