The List: ‘St. John Passion,’ ‘Brighton Beach Memoirs’ and more
Welcome to The List, a curated offering of promising events for the weekend. Why stand in line to see “The Avengers” when there’s a whole world of local stuff to enjoy and support? (You can always catch an “Avengers” weekday matinee.)
1. Experience the grandeur of ‘St. John Passion’
You have to go back to 1957 for the last time the Fresno Community Chorus Master Chorale performed J.S. Bach’s monumental “St. John Passion.” The 2019 version this weekend will be one to remember. The Master Chorale, under the direction of Anna Hamre, is performing a semi-staged version of the famed (and famously difficult) oratorio, which recounts the last days of Jesus. The production includes 160 singers, 35 instrumentalists, a bunch of period costumes and several guest actors and soloists, including Terry Lewis as Jesus, Lim Forgey as Pontius Pilate, Brian Thorsett as The Evangelist, and Maria Briggs and Julie Miller as the female soloists.
A semi-staged version of the Passion is a rare event. On the April episode of “The Munro Review on CMAC,” I interviewed chorus president Alan Peters and stage director Allison Windmiller about what the audience can expect at Sunday’s performance. The interview begins at the 3:45 mark:
It sounds like it’s going to be a memorable event. One interesting thing Peters told me is that the choir in this production plays the part of the “mob,” which is one of the important players in a Passion story. Another fun fact: One of the singers in this St. John Passion performance also sang it in 1957: John Donaldson. Congratulations, John.