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    Johann Sebastian Bach

    The earlier of Bach’s two Passions, which already demonstrates his perfect mastery of the balance between solo arias and choral parts

    Masaaki Suzuki
    Masaaki Suzuki - Droits réservés

    Hana Blažíková soprano
    Damien Guillon countertenor
    James Gilchrist tenor (The Evangelist)
    Zachary Wilder tenor
    Christian Immler bass

    Masaaki Suzuki direction
    Bach Collegium Japan

    Sung in German with French and English subtitles

    This musical setting of the last days of Christ belongs to a tradition with its roots in the early days of Christianity. The first manuscript sources for performances date back to the 9th century. The genre evolved very little until the 14th century, which saw the gradual introduction of a distinction between parts (the narrator, Christ, etc.). The genre established its credentials via Lutheran reforms in the early 11th century, which stipulated that the text must be sung in German rather than Latin so that every one could understand it, and developed much richer polyphony, alternating between recitative, arias and large choral parts, influenced by Italian opera in particular. The Johannes-Passion (St John Passion), composed in 1723-24 for Leipzig, was the first work on this scale written for the town where Bach had recently taken up residence and for which he wrote at least half of his cantatas and the Christmas Oratorio. This majestic work, with its beautiful arias for soloists and intense choral passages, is considered to be one of the composer’s crowning achievements.

    Production Théâtre des Champs-Elysées