Concert: J S Bach: St John Passion

7:30pm, Sat, 9 Mar 2024

  • Event Details
  • Type of event: Performance
    Start time: 7:30pm
    Venue: King's Hall
    Armstrong Building
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE1 7RU
    Description: Concert: J S  Bach: St John Passion

    For many years the Newcastle upon Tyne Bach Choir has included an all-Bach concert each season, alternating programmes built around the cantatas with the large scale works. It would have been the turn of the St John Passion a couple of years ago, but of course the pandemic delayed things. 

    The advantage of this delay is that our upcoming performance of this magnificent work will celebrate its 300th anniversary: its first performance was on Good Friday 1724, so we will be singing it almost exactly three centuries later!

    It appears that Bach composed five Passion settings, although only two have survived complete. His appointment the previous year as Cantor at Leipzig involved providing cantatas for every Sunday and feast day of the church year, but for the Good Friday service a full setting of the Passion story was required, and these alternated between the two main Leipzig churches, Thus the premiere of the John Passion, which paints an immediate and highly expressive picture of this dramatic story, took place in the Nicolaikirche on 7 April 1724. 

    We know of three further performances of the St John Passion in Bach’s time. The following year it was heard in the Thomaskirche, but this time with several alterations, and our performance will include a few of these rarely heard new pieces.

    We have a fine line up of soloists. Hugo Hymas, a Durham University graduate and now one of the foremost early music tenors, sings both the part of the Evangelist, who narrates the events leading up to Christ’s death, and the tenor arias, while young American Ben Kazez sings the part of Jesus and the baritone arias. Soprano Charlotte La Thrope is another Durham music graduate; alto David Allsopp, a regular soloist with the choir, was on stunning form in the Christmas Oratorio, our first post-lockdown concert a couple of years ago. Finally the luxury casting also includes bass-baritone Andri Björn Róbertsson, who joined us last November for Israel in Egypt.

    As usual, accompaniment will be provided by the period instruments of Newcastle Baroque, whose delicate, mellow sonorities are exploited by Bach to the full to paint the changing emotions of this great masterpiece.

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