Vancouver Bach Choir to Close 85th Season with ST. MATTHEW PASSION

Vancouver Bach Choir concludes its monumental 85th anniversary season with J. S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion, March 19, 7:30pm at The Orpheum. Celebrated as a pinnacle accomplishment in music history, 'The Great Passion' will be gloriously illuminated by the venerable symphonic choir alongside the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and a cast of internationally acclaimed soloists.

"There is simply no way we could end this momentous season with any other masterwork from the VBC repertoire," said Leslie Dala, conductor and Music Director, Vancouver Bach Choir. "St. Matthew Passion is epic, not only in scope and scale, but in overwhelming depth of emotion. The musical innovations Bach introduces are without precedent - and give voice to some of our most fundamental human experiences: loss, grief, hope and joy. To hear the work live is a profound experience, incomparable to any other presentation of classical music to be witnessed."

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the sacred oratorio in 1727 for a Good Friday mass at Leipzig's St. Thomas Church, where the composer was employed as an organist. The masterpiece illustrates chapters 26 & 27 from the Gospel of St. Matthew, articulating the disciple's account of Christ's betrayal, trial, and execution through some of the richest, most powerful music ever set to page.

To convey the ambitious subject of the gospel, Bach envisioned an ensemble of equal magnitude: the work is composed for a double choir, double orchestra, and retinue of soloists. The proceedings interweave music, singing, drama, and text into 68 movements that range in length from 20 seconds, to seven minutes. The tapestry of voices that emerge include Jesus, Pilate, Peter, and Judas, as well as an Evangelist, who narrates passages from Martin Luther's translation of the Bible.

In bringing the work to life, Vancouver Bach Choir have assembled a stunning array of renowned soloists. Female singers will include Anne Grimm (soprano), a frequent fixture in opera houses through Europe and North America, and Susan Platts (mezzo soprano), a protégé of the great Jessye Norman, whose voice has filled Royal Albert Hall, Teatro alla Scala, and Carnegie Hall, amongst countless others. The male roles will be sung by local star Alan MacDonald (bass baritone), hotly demanded soloist and opera performer Steven Hegedus (bass), and critically-lauded Canadian artist Benjamin Butterfield (tenor), who has given performances of 'The Great Passion' around the globe, including under the baton of Seiji Ozawa in Japan.

In recognition of the milestone occasion and musical significance of St. Matthew Passion, Vancouver Bach Choir will host a series of ancillary events, exploring the work in greater depth:

Erbarme dich - Matthäus Passion Stories (Film Screening)
March 6 & 16 at 7:45pm, March 25 at 2pm: Vancity Theatre
This 2015 VIFF selection explores the impact of Bach's St. Matthew Passion on the lives of such luminary creators as opera director Peter Sellars, conductor Pieter Jan Leusink, writer Anna Enquist, and choreographer & dancer Emio Greco, among others. Hosted in partnership with Vancouver International Film Festival.
Tickets $12 Adults, $10 Students/Seniors ($2 Annual Membership required)

Talk Bach: A Conversation with Leslie Dala & Matthew White
March 9 at 7:30pm: Hodson Manor (1254 W 7th Ave.)
Two leading figures of Vancouver's classical music community host an informal dialogue around the life and work of J. S. Bach. Early Music Vancouver Artistic Director Matthew White begins the night by exploring the composer's career, influences, and innovations. Continuing the discussion, Vancouver Bach Choir's Leslie Dala offers a look into how these elements manifest in St. Matthew Passion. Hosted in collaboration with Early Music Vancouver.
This event is free of charge.

About the Vancouver Bach Choir (vancouverbachchoir.com) - The Vancouver Bach Choir (VBC), celebrating its 85th anniversary season, is an award-winning symphonic choir committed to offering vibrant and culturally diverse choral experiences to its audiences.

As one of the largest choral organizations in Canada, the Vancouver Bach Choir explores a wide range of repertoire from the past to the present with passion and commitment. Through its concerts presented at the magnificent Orpheum Theatre, the VBC continues to meet its mandate of commissioning and performing works by Canadian composers and presenting the world's favourite symphonic choral works.

Over the past eight decades, the choir has performed with numerous world-class musicians. Currently under the baton of Maestro Leslie Dala, the VBC continues its mission and tradition to share the beauty of choral music with local, national, and international communities.



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