Opera of the Week:  Bach’s St John Passion

Opera of the Week: Bach’s St John Passion


norman lebrecht

November 19, 2021

Slippedisc, courtesy of OperaVision, broadcasts Bach’s seminal work St John Passion from the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris.    The searing music paints a monumental fresco of life’s journey to redemption. Calixto Bieito, one of the most exciting directors of his generation, directs this dramatised oratorio.  It is conducted by Philippe Pierlot.  With the help of an excellent cast, including Benjamin Appl in the role of Jesus and Joshua Ellicott as The Evangelist,  the period orchestra Les Talens Lyriques and a group of amateur singers which form the chorus at the heart of the narrative, Calixto Bieito leads us into dialogue with this work  confronting pain and death..

Sung in German with subtitles  in English and French.  Available until 4th December 2021.


  • PS says:

    It’s a bad sign when the director says, “I don’t think Bach’s music is sacred anymore.”


    • Jake says:

      An appropriate response to such a director’s comment would be “Perhaps not, if you are involved in the performance of it.”

  • Melisande says:

    Besides the two soprano arias in this passion the singer Lenneke Ruiten has a very interesting and well-played ‘role’ in this performance. The singing is first class.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Could not watch it beyond the first 5 minutes – idiotic way of turning this deeply spiritual work in a Bieito fantasy. The man has no idea what kind of work this is.