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17.04.2022 20:00 (CEST)

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Monteverdi Choir | English Baroque Soloists | John Eliot Gardiner – St John Passion

After performances in recent years of Bach’s liturgical cantatas and St Matthew Passion, John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi ensembles turn to the composer’s other great meditation on the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus. Martin Luther described the Gospel of John as ‘unique in loveliness and, in truth, the principal Gospel, far superior to the other three and much to be preferred’; Bach responded to the text with music which is by turns evocative, stirring, exultant and profoundly moving – music that holds our attention from beginning to end. The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists will be joined by a dynamic cast of exciting soloists to bring the story of the passion to life.

Located in Oxford’s medieval city centre, the Sheldonian Theatre is the principal assembly room of the University, and the regular meeting place of Congregation, the body which controls the University’s affairs. All public ceremonies of the University are performed here, notably the annual Encaenia. The architect was a young Christopher Wren, then Professor of Astronomy at Oxford, with as yet little practical experience of building. Inspired by drawings of Roman theatres, he adopted their D-shaped plan. However, the open arena of Rome, unsuited to the English climate, had to be covered.

John Eliot Gardiner comments on this concert: “Bach really is the universal composer, whose music can touch anybody, regardless of religious background or nationality. We are encouraged and hopeful that through this concert we can connect to a much wider audience, to whom we can’t be physically close, but who at a distance can be drawn into the rituals of the unfolding of this magical passion.”

Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Nick Pritchard, Evangelist
William Thomas, Christus
Alex Ashworth, Pilatus

further solos performed by: Julia Doyle, Alexander Chance, Peter Davoren

Johann Sebastian Bach: St John Passion
From the Sheldonian Theatre Oxford, 2021

Photo John Eliot Gardiner: © Liliya Olkhovaya

DG Stage