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  • Southern Oregon Repertory Singers presents 'St. Matthew Passion'

  • Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, directed by Paul French, will present "St. Matthew Passion" — written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra — at 7 p.m. Friday, May 16, and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 18, in the Music Recital Hall on the Southern Oregon University campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.
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  • Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, directed by Paul French, will present "St. Matthew Passion" — written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra — at 7 p.m. Friday, May 16, and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 18, in the Music Recital Hall on the Southern Oregon University campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.
    SORS' performance will showcase six, top-notch international soloists, including soprano Julianne Baird, tenors Christopher Cock and Brian Thorsett, baritones Christopher Nomura and Nathaniel Watson and mezzo soprano Tracy Watson.
    "The libretto is about the last week in the life of Jesus, narrated by the evangelist (Cock)," French says. "The choirs fill several roles, such as the conscience of humanity, the disciples or the mob. They're like a Greek chorus commenting on the action.
    "It's a Herculean effort to put this on," French says. "Members of the period orchestras are traveling from across the country.
    "This is one of the most important pieces in Western music. It's moving and emotionally powerful. Nietzsche said that 'St. Matthew Passion' made him forget he was an atheist."
    The piece has never been performed with a baroque orchestra in the Rogue Valley, French says. It will be sung in German with English super titles.
    SORS will be joined by the Rogue Valley Chorale's Children's Choir to perform one of the movements during the performances.
    Tickets cost $32, $35 or $39 and can be purchased online at www.repsingers.org or by calling 541-552-0900.
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