Théâtre des Champs Élysées

Oratorio per la Passione di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo

Alessandro Scarlatti

Philippe Jaroussky, Valer Sabadus and Sonia Prina embody Sin, Grace and Repentance in this delicate and unusual work by Scarlatti

Oratorio in two parts (1708)
Text by the Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni

Patrick Cohën-Akenine direction et violon

Philippe Jaroussky  La Faute
Valer Sabadus  La Grâce
Sonia Prina  Le Repentir

Les Folies Françoises

Prolific musician Alessandro Scarlatti is known first and foremost as the composer of some 80 operas (and is considered to be the founder of Neapolitan school of opera), but he also composed circa forty oratorios, approximately one hundred motets, more than 800 cantatas (including a handful on religious subjects) and instrumental pieces. His great St Cecilia Mass is probably his most famous work in the oratorio form, and the Oratorio per la Passione di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo is equally worthy of performance. Characters and the gospel text are totally absent and are replaced by three allegorical figures: La Colpa, Il Pentimento and La Grazia. In musical terms, Scarlatti’s score is characterised by a rich and inventive orchestration, which uses four trumpets and a trombone (an essential requirement for the Last Judgement), in addition to the traditional strings and basso continuo, and highly expressive writing. His experience of opera was probably a decisive feature, inspiring particularly lively passages of recitative and arias reminiscent of the plaintive songs and lamentos which were highly regarded at the time. It preceded the great Lutheran Passions raised to the peak of perfection by Bach, and it will be fascinating to (re)discover their Latin counterpart at this concert.


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