Aerial art and Baroque splendour: Passion of Christ at St Paul’s Cathedral

A spectacular pre-Easter performance inspired by the Passion of Christ will transform St Paul’s Cathedral next month, with dramatic staging, aerial artistry and much-loved vocal works from the Baroque period.

Passion, Lament, Glory will see acclaimed musical director Erin Helyard (Pinchgut Opera) and Melbourne’s own soprano Jacqueline Porter perform Handel’s haunting Salve Regina. They will be joined by an impressive lineup of more than 100 singers from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music’s vocal studies department, under the direction of Stephen Grant, who will perform excerpts from Handel’s Messiah.

Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, which explores the Passion of Christ from Mary’s viewpoint, will serve as the musical centrepiece, while a stunning performance from aerial artist Mozes will provide a breathtaking finale to this story of love and endurance.

Artistic director Jane Davidson, from the Centre for the History of Emotions (CHE) at The University of Melbourne, said the project explored universal themes of love, death, suffering and the maternal bond.

“Although the music being performed was created almost 300 years ago, it still resonates deeply with us today,” Prof Davidson said.

“The Stabat Mater, in particular, is made all the more poignant knowing that Pergolesi composed it just weeks before he died from tuberculosis at the age of 26.”

Professor Davidson devised the performance to coincide with the CHE-curated exhibition Love: Art of Emotion 1400-1800, which opens at NGV International on March 31.

Well-known designer Matt Adey will exploit the architectural beauty of the Cathedral with dramatic lighting.

CHE has a suite of musical events and Masterclasses linked to the Love: Art of Emotion 1400-1800 exhibition at NGV. For more information see our events page.

Passion, Lament, Glory

Date: Friday 31 March & Saturday 1 April, 2017
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: St Paul’s Cathedral, cnr Swanston & Flinders St, Melbourne
Tickets: $30 full / $15 concession.
Bookings essential: Eventbrite online