Experience the agony and the ecstasy of Bach’s St. John Passion in Peterborough, May 14

Layout 1Music lovers in the Peterborough area will have the rare opportunity to experience the majesty of Bach’s St. John Passion this upcoming May 14, when the Peterborough Singers perform the work at George St. United Church.

Since its premiere performance in 1724 in Leipzig, Germany, St. John Passion has been respected the world over as a powerhouse among oratorios, a daunting challenge for choristers. Unapologetically extravagant, lush, and unbridled, the Passion is an unparalleled sensory experience.

The massive 100-voice Peterborough Singers will join forces with the renowned Talisker Players, as well as a world-class roster of soloists and famed organist Ian Sadler.

“It’s hard to overstate the power and complexity of Bach’s great oratorio,” said Peterborough Singers Artistic Director Syd Birrell. “There is a reason it consistently appears in the lists of the top-10 oratorios that any top-notch choral society simply must perform.”

St. John Passion is so full of meaning and consequence and substance,” Birrell added. “In our fast-paced world, this work offers a profundity that exceeds much of what we look at or listen to by an infinite factor. From the first note of the monumental first chorus, this work moves me, it changes me, it makes me a better person.”

St. John Passion is not only packed with challenging virtuosic passages for the choir and soloists alike but also contains some of the most timeless melodies – many of which audience members will recognize as the tunes of popular church hymns.

The libretto for the oratorio is based upon the story of the final days of the life of Jesus Christ as told through the writings of St. John. The Singers will perform the work in English, rather than its original German – enabling the audience to follow the narrative as recounted in the most poetic and mystical of the four Gospels.

“This is what the members of the Peterborough Singers live for – to completely immerse ourselves in the most extraordinarily beautiful and rich music ever composed: and then to share the result with our audience members,” said Birrell.

“Even those who may not consider themselves classical music lovers simply cannot help but be deeply moved by this work. If you appreciate the power of music, in whatever form, I would challenge you to come out and experience St. John Passion this May 14.”

In addition to the Talisker Players, the Singers will be joined by five established and emerging Canadian vocal soloists. Soprano Leslie Fagan has delighted audiences and critics alike at Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Bordeaux Opera House, Roy Thomson Hall, and Massey Hall. While Canadian mezzo-soprano Jennifer Enns Modolo, tenor Adam Bishop, bass-baritone Joel Allison, and bass Matthew Cassils have all earned acclaim as top-tier vocal artists.