The Guelph Chamber Choir will perform Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at the River Run Centre on April 11 at 8pm.
The choir is joined by an orchestra playing on period instruments and by Canadian guest soloists: soprano Meredith Hall, alto Rosemarie van der Hooft, tenor James McLean (Evangelist), and bass Justin Welsh (Jesus).
Bach’s masterwork ranks high among the works of Western sacred art. "The choir is in the midst of rehearsals to bring this challenging and breath-taking masterpiece to life," said conductor Dr. Gerald Neufeld. "We have chosen to perform it in English, allowing the compelling drama to be fully and immediately understood."
The oratorio was originally intended to be performed in two halves: one before and one after the Good Friday church sermon. Scholars believe the first performance of the St. Matthew Passion was on April 11, 1727. It was performed on Good Friday of 1729, and perhaps at several other Good Friday services during Bach’s lifetime. It then dropped from public view until 1829, when it was performed by Felix Mendelssohn, sparking a revival of interest in Bach’s music that grew throughout the 19th century to today.
Reverend John Buttars, United Church minister, explores the origins of Matthew’s gospel and illuminates the context for its account of the crucifixion in a bridge talk preceding the performance, starting at 6:45pm. All ticket holders are welcome.
The 40-voice Guelph Chamber Choir brings together local, dedicated and primarily amateur singers who share a collective vision for “inspired choral music to stir the human spirit”. The choir’s 29th season concludes with a concert of Love Songs for Springtime on May 9, at Harcourt Memorial United Church.
Tickets to St. Matthew Passion are $30, or four for $100. Students can buy discounted tickets to all Guelph Chamber Choir events for $10 and $5 through the national eyeGo programme. To order, call the River Run Centre at 519-763-3000 or 1-877-520-2408, or order on-line at www.riverruncentre.ca.
For more information on the Guelph Chamber Choir call 519-836-5103 or visit www.guelphchamberchoir.ca.