Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bach's Matthew Passion from Berlin

Sir Simon Rattle, conductor
Petter Sellars, staging

Mark Padmore Tenor (Evangelist),
Christian Gerhaher Bass (Jesus),
Camilla Tilling Soprano,
Magdalena Kožená Mezzo-Soprano (Musician),
Topi Lehtipuu Tenor (Arias),
Thomas Quasthoff Baritone (Arias)

This is the way I like it.  The continuo sounds like a synthesizer which I can take or leave.  Sorry, I like a real orchestra like the Berliner Philharmoniker.  I like a fairly big chorus and lots of emotional intensity.  Peter Sellars adds the element of movement to further intensify the emotion.  Padmore and Kozena are the best for this. This is Jesus as everyman, I guess.  He stands high over the others and is growing on me.

You know it's working when your heart swells.  I want to be clear.  One has never seen a staged Matthew Passion before, but one does not mind it.  It's interesting that the various characters of the drama interact with the evangelist, not Jesus.  Everyone is memorized, like an opera.

The ear is cut off.  Jesus is taken.  The chorus runs off into the audience, children enter and everyone sings from around the house.  I have been here and think it would be a joy to experience this.  Part of the fun is to watch Simon Rattle.

I love it very much.  Of course, nothing is so wonderful as to sing it.  This is Easter for me.

Magdalena will now sing the most beautiful aria ever written while kneeling.  My heart is full.  Here we sit down and cry.  They do this.  Matthew has written a wonderful story which is the more vivid with this glorious music and acting.

It plays still today, Monday.  There are no titles.

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