Bach's St Matthew Passion is brought to life as a fully-staged opera by Streetwise Opera and The Sixteen
Every two years, Streetwise Opera, which runs music programmes with people who have experienced homelessness, stages a full-scale new opera. This Easter sees The Passion, a pioneering site-specific production in collaboration with period orchestra and choral group The Sixteen in association with Manchester’s international centre for contemporary visual art, theatre and film, HOME.
It's no longer unusual to stage oratorio and there have been a number of stagings of both Handel’s and Bach’s works in recent years. Streetwise Opera have gone a step further with their adaptation of Bach’s St Matthew Passion, which will feature a new ‘resurrection’ finale jointly written by Streetwise Opera’s performers and celebrated composer Sir James MacMillan. Bleak images are followed by glimmers of hope in a joyous closing chorus.
This abridged version of the oratorio will be brought to life as a promenade performance within the 19th century cast iron framework of Manchester’s Campfield Market. The cast comprises both The Sixteen and performers who have experienced homelessness from Streetwise Opera Manchester.
Following the last two days of Jesus’s life, The Passion’s confrontational narrative is contrasted by the beauty and exultation of its celebrated score. Penny Woolcock’s direction sees multiple performers playing the leading role as a poignant reminder of Jesus’s vulnerability and universality.
The Passion, Streetwise Opera’s adaptation of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in collaboration with The Sixteen and HOME, opens at Campfield Market, Manchester on Friday 25 March and has a second performance on Saturday 26 March.