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B'Rock Orchestra, B'Rock Choir

St John Passion Scarlatti

PASSIO: baroque still life or contemporary ritual?

Alessandro Scarlatti’s St John Passion was the first Passion setting written in seventeenth-century Italy. Claude Debussy called this work a ‘miniature masterpiece of simple elegance in which the choruses take on the colour of the lush gold which adorns the face of the Madonna in the frescos of Telemann’s time’. Scarlatti’s passion inspired the musicians of B’Rock and the theatre makers of Muziektheater Transparant to make a surprising performance in which music and images meet in a contemporary ritual of catharsis.

Scarlatti’s short but powerful St John Passion is complemented by three choir pieces from his Responsori per la Settimana Santa. An intriguing string quartet by the Dutch composer Louis Andriessen (inspired by Gregori Allegri’s famous Miserere) and Arvo Pärt’s Da pacem Domini act as a bridge between Scarlatti’s time and the present.

With a video installation halfway between a Baroque still life and a contemporary ritual, the Belgian-Italian stage director Luigi de Angelis adds a visual layer, inspired by the movies of Pasolini. Why is suffering such a wanted subject in the arts? Are we only the consumers of each other’s pain or is there room for real compassion?

Flagey, Klarafestival, Muziektheater Transparant, B’Rock, Abbaye de La Cambre 

KF20 St JOHN PASSION SCARLATTI, a playlist by klarafestival on Spotify