Of Bach’s two remaining passions, the one according to Saint John was composed first and reworked several times by the Cantor for different executions in 1724 and 1747, which bring it magnificent balance when an optimal version inspired by the four known versions is performed.
In St Thomas of Leipzig, Bach had an experienced choral and instrumental ensemble that permitted him to deploy the virtuosity of the arias and choirs of this generous passion and he used rhetoric effects to the maximum to highlight the dramatic and dolorist texts they interpreted. Hardly a year after his arrival in Leipzig, he gave his first great masterpiece on Good Friday 1724. It was then by far his largest composition and has remained one of the public’s favourites because of its extraordinary human dimension.
The very young Valentin Tournet, with the viola da gamba, his favorite instrument, has brought together around this project other soloists met in concerts where they played together. The Evangelist will be sung by the German tenor Sebastian Kohlhepp, who has just recorded the role with René Jacobs…Orchestra and choir are composed of specialists of the baroque repertoire coming from the best French ensembles.
Seeing a young musician carrying so high the stakes of a first oratorio project is surprising but thrilling: Valentin Tournet, aged 20 only, says he chose the Passion according to Saint John “because I know it by heart! I have been singing it since I was 13 as a chorister and a soloist and I also play the magnificent viola da gamba solo”. All this guarantees success and the Friends of the Royal Opera have decided to support this project so that it can created in the best conditions possible.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Passion according to Saint John
Sebastian Kohlhepp The Evangelist
Sebastian Noack Vox Christi
Lucía Martín-Cartón Soprano
Alex Potter Alto
Thomas Hobbs Tenor
Stephan MacLeod Bass and Pilates
La Chapelle Harmonique chœur et orchestre
Valentin Tournet Conductor
Friday 31 March 2017 - 8pm
Saturday 1 April - 7pm