Passion, Lament, Glory

Date: Friday 31 March and Saturday 1 April 2017
Time: 7.30PM
Venue: St Paul’s Cathedral, Cnr of Swanston Street and Flinders Street, Melbourne
Cost: $30 Full / $15 Concession
Booking: Eventbrite online.

A spectacular pre-Easter performance inspired by the Passion of Christ will transform St Paul’s Cathedral this week, with dramatic staging, aerial artistry and much-loved vocal works from the Baroque period.

Passion, Lament, Glory will see acclaimed musical director Erin Helyard (Pinchgut Opera) and Melbourne’s own soprano Jacqueline Porter perform Handel’s haunting Salve Regina. They will be joined by an impressive lineup of more than 100 singers from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music’s vocal studies department, under the direction of Stephen Grant, who will perform excerpts from Handel’s Messiah.

Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, which explores the Passion of Christ from Mary’s viewpoint, will serve as the musical centrepiece, while a stunning performance from aerial artist Tim Rutty will provide a breathtaking finale to this story of love and endurance.

The Dean of Melbourne, Andreas Loewe, will present a dramatic introduction to the story of the cross as part of the performance and designer Matthew Adey will exploit the architectural beauty of the Cathedral with dramatic lighting.

Artistic director Jane Davidson, from the Centre for the History of Emotions (CHE) at The University of Melbourne, said the project explored universal themes of love, death, suffering and the maternal bond.

“Although the music being performed was created almost 300 years ago, it still resonates deeply with us today,” Prof Davidson said.

“The Stabat Mater, in particular, is made all the more poignant knowing that Pergolesi composed it just weeks before he died from tuberculosis at the age of 26.”

Professor Davidson devised the performance to coincide with the CHE-curated exhibition Love: Art of Emotion 1400-1800, which opens at NGV International on March 31.

Dean Andreas Loewe said: “The story of the cross and the confidence in a  new and transformed life is central to the Christian story. The hope it brings has been expressed through art and music throughout the ages.”

“This dramatic retelling of the story of the way to the cross and beyond stands in the tradition of the Passion plays of old, and will be a stunning and memorable start to the Cathedral’s celebration of Holy Week and Easter”.