The Passion performance is the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s oldest tradition. In order to approach the Passion from perspectives other than that of the Protestant faith, the orchestra has commissioned new Passions from two contemporary composers, resulting in the creation of new Passion music with a diverse range of cultural influences.
Azerbaijani composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh bases her Nasimi Passion on mystical verses by the fourteenth-century poet Imadaddin Nasimi. In The Mystical Sacrifice, Djuro Zivkovic, who hails from Serbia, has drawn on the Orthodox Easter liturgy, of which forgiveness and redemption are the key focus.
Besides the two new passions, the programme also features Debussy’s incidental music to Gabriele D’Annunzio’s mystery play Le martyre de Saint-Sébastien, which also mixes different traditions – Christianity and the pagan cult of Adonis. The mystery play never caught on, but Debussy’s instrumental music still enchants music lovers all over the world.