Cantoria to Present the “Passion”

Cantoria joins forces with the University Chamber Orchestra, Truman faculty and guest soloists in presenting J. S. Bach’s wonderful Baroque masterpiece, the “St. John Passion,” at 7:30 p.m. March 28 in Ophelia Parrish Performance Hall.

This performance presents the “Passion” in English and German, with real-time English translation of German projected onto screens at each side of the stage.

The work follows the story of Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion and burial as taken from John 17 and 18, word-for-word in the original German. Bach gives the storytelling of the named characters—the Evangelist and Jesus, Peter, Pilate, and auxiliary characters—to soloists (sung in English), while the group responses (of Roman soldiers, Jewish leaders, etc.) are assigned to the choir in short and often fast paced choruses. Bach interrupts the progression of the story with commentary. These commenting hymns and arias function as congregational and personal responses to the drama as it unfolds.

Joining Cantoria and the Orchestra will be alumnus Frank Fleschner as the Evangelist, faculty members Yukari Yano (harpsichord), Brian Kubin (cello) Jacqueline Collett (soprano), and Elaine AuBuchon (oboe).

Guest artists  include Chad Payton (alto), Christopher Goeke (tenor), Christopher Mitchell (bass/Pilate), and Elizabeth Macdonald (viola da gamba), with Truman student Jason Qualls singing the role of Jesus.

This work presents Bach’s most accessible side, a concise storyteller who understands how to pace a drama. Short movements, quick interchanges between soloists and choir, and the straightforward style of the chorales make this work accessible to many listeners and make it easy to engage in the story and its dramatic arc. It also presents Bach, the devout Christian, attempting to move listeners into active reflection and response to the story.

Including intermission, the performance will last about 2 hours and 30 minutes. Admission is free and open to the public.

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