WHY DON’T WE SEE MARTINŮ’S GREEK PASSION MORE OFTEN?

Napisala i przyslala Basia Jaworski

 

There are two reason’s to post my little article about Martinů’s ‚Greek Passion’ just today.
This weekend we celebrate Greek-Orthodox Easter.
And yesterday it was 104 years ago that the mass killing of millions of Christians: mostly Armenians and Greeks -the “first genocide of the 20th century” – began.
‚Greek Passion’ is one of the most touching opera’s of the 20-century. Why don’t we see it more often?

Greek Passion martinu-600 Universal Edition Magazine

Once, years ago I begged the gods (and the staff of DNO) to put by Bohuslav Martinů’s The Greek Passion on the repertoire list. In vain. It doesn’t even have to be a new production, on the contrary! There is a beautiful staging made by David Pountney. It was first performed in 1999 in Bregenz (this was the first version of the opera), and a few years later at the Royal Opera House in London.

I saw the production in London and was very moved by it. In the performance I attended, the main parts were played by Christopher Ventris as Manolios (Christ) and Douglas Nasrawi as Panait (Judas), and since then I have hoped that one day a DVD will be released. In vain, so it seems …

‘Christ was crucified again’

Greek Passion Kazantzakis

Nikos Kazantzakis © Universal Edition Magazine

The subject: refugees, corruption, religious fanaticism, humanism and the search for identification was, is and will always remain topical. Bitter, tragic, but also beautiful and very humane. Martinů himself wrote the libretto for it, based on the novel ‘Ο Χριστός ξανασταυρώνεται’ (Christ was crucified again) by Nikos Kazantzakis. The book (and the opera) tells a story of the survivors of a Turkish massacre who seek shelter in a Greek village where the local population is preparing for their annual ‘Passion performances’.

Calosc TUTAJ

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