Queensland Performing Arts Centre
The Passion, re-telling of the suffering of Christ, has had monumental human implications throughout modern history. Christians and non-
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St Matthew Passion

Venue Concert Hall, QPAC
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Dates 21 to 23 Mar 2013

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The Passion, re-telling of the suffering of Christ, has had monumental human implications throughout modern history. Christians and non-Christians alike consider JS Bach's St Matthew Passion the greatest work of its kind ever written, attaining truly sublime musical expressiveness. A moving combination of joy and grief, this powerful music drama shifts between chronicle and contemporary commentary, guided by the evangelist St Matthew.

Opera Queensland and Camerata of St John's, led by Brendan Joyce, will join forces under the musical leadership of renowned conductor Graham Abbott. In a staging first created by Artistic Director Lindy Hume for Perth International Arts Festival, international and Australian soloists, chorus and musicians form an onstage community to play out scenes from this heartbreaking story of betrayal and forbearance.

"Lindy Hume's staged performance of Bach's St Matthew Passion is a revelation: it beautifully illuminates this immortal music, taking audiences to a deeper understanding of one of the greatest achievements in Western art." Margaret Throsby, ABC Classic FM

Sung in German with projected English translations.
St. Matthew Passion world class
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3:06 PM - 23/03/2013
By Stephen G. Nuske
Thank you Opera Queensland for St. Matthew’s Passion which I attended last pm. It really was an outstanding “performance”. World class. The use of the stage and the body language of the performers, for the text and music – Lindy Hume you are to be commended, as are all of the artists. It was devotional and meditational and that could not have happened without you reflecting on the text. In staging this, it shows that Opera Queensland has a ritual function through music in a society which grapples with mental health problems and suffering - how do we integrate suffering into our lives and our world view. The image of the “The Pietà” when what’s his name held the body of Christ – so many powerful images….Be bold in all that you do
Simply Sublime
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12:13 PM - 23/03/2013
By Haydn
This performance easily exceeded expectations, a joy to behold!
Moving Passion
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1:52 AM - 22/03/2013
By Janelle Colquhoun
This is not your standard mass-choir St Matthew Passion. Firstly it consists of a very small number of Opera Queensland choristers whose voices all stand out individually as they sing the choruses wandering around the Concert Hall stage in daywear. The Camerata of St John’s is in the middle of the stage with chorus and soloists variously singing in front, behind and surrounding them. The soloists, all of them good, although some I liked better than others used the entire stage, and even the back of the balcony to perform the story. This moved the Passion from a static piece where you can be happy to just let the music wash over you, to one where you didn’t stop following the story. Unfortunately though apart from a few of the male soloists, the German diction was so bad that apart from the occasional “ich” and “isch” ending on words, it could have been sung in Latin or Hebrew. It seems the OQ chorus has been divided this year – those who can memorise music are in Otello later this year, those who probably can’t memorise music are in St Matt. Such a shame to kill the idea of staging this wonderful Bach Passion by having most of the chorus clutching at their scores as they move around the stage. Apart from a few very ‘interesting’ antiphonal moments, the balance between the Camerata of St John’s and the singers was perfect. Camerata as usual were sounding lovely, although I’m still scratching my head as to why the funny little mobile organ was used when the beautiful pipe organ was standing dejected at the back of the stage. Also, while I realise traditional instruments go out of tune quickly, re-tuning the viola da gamba in the middle of the second half through me so out of the music and story that it took me the next 15 minutes to get back into it again. I mean, honestly, which opera or symphony have you ever heard interrupted for a quick tune-up?! But as for throwing me out of the moment, I couldn’t believe how many weak-bladdered people must have been sitting in the balcony on opening night. During the first half every 5 minutes someone’s chair was banging up and the door slapping closed as someone got up to leave or come back into the theatre. Grrrr. However, if you like the standard mass-choir version, or are a fan of early music or Bach or have never heard a Passion before, then you shouldn’t miss experiencing this engaging St Matthew Passion on its very limited run of 3 performances.

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