Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion was first performed on Good Friday, 11 April 1727. It was not an opera, although its effect was comparable, if not stronger. According to John Eliot Gardiner, “there is not a single opera seria of the period that I have studied or conducted to compare with Bach’s two Passions, in terms of the intense human drama and moral dilemma that he expresses in such a persuasive and deeply poignant way”.
Iván Fischer has been a welcome guest conductor with the Concertgebouworkest since 1987. Fischer’s way of working, which is as unusual as it is committed, and the musicians’ enthusiasm and virtuosity always result in very special performances. According to Gardiner, with Fischer’s interpretation “the listener is caught up in a narration that demands his full attention as it passes from pain and suffering through remorse and repentance to the possibility of salvation – the resurrection on the third day”.