Mar 5th Sun 4pm Canterbury Sings Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at Heavenly Rest Under Jonathan de Vries with Carla Wesby, Jeffrey Mandelbaum, Blake Friedman and Matthew Curran

Unbeatable Bach
In a charming and rewarding respite from the wintry air of the city outside and the constant media cacophony from Washington, one of the greatest works from the hand of the all time master of rhythmic melody and harmony for the classical ear sounded clearly in the towering space of Heavenly Rest in the ears of an attentive audience filling the pews from front to back, all of whom save one young lady at the rear using her iPhone possibly to search for information about this supreme composition were visibly absorbed in a binding communal experience of the peak of analogue musical tradition in a regrettably digital modern world, and taken up by an unending flow of tuneful melody and heavenly harmony which the richly voiced choir and the tenor soloist in particular traversed with flair and a rhythmic bounce that must have made some in the audience one wonder anew why Bach is not still a staple of every Sunday’s celebration of God’s power and love of human beings in this magnificent space.

. The Canterbury Choral Society, led by Conductor Jonathan De Vries, will present The St. Matthew Passion in concert on Sunday March 5 2017 at the Church of the Heavenly Rest at Fifth Avenue and 90th Street at 4pm. Over a hundred singers, a complete orchestra, and four exciting soloists will perform.

Canterbury Choral Society Winter Concert, March 5 2017 at 4pm
Place: Church of the Heavenly Rest, 2 East 90th Street,

Approach the Lenten Season with Johann Sebastian Bach’s powerful
St. Matthew Passion conducted by Jonathan De Vries and
performed by Canterbury Choral Society with full orchestra, double chorus and professional soloists!

Soprano: Carla Wesby,
Countertenor: Jeffrey Mandelbaum
Tenor: Blake Friedman
Bass: Matthew Curran

A highlight of Bach’s work, the Passion is based on the Gospel of St. Matthew and tells the Good Friday story of Jesus’ arrest, trial and execution. Conductor Jonathan De Vries describes the work as “a storytelling masterpiece” as Bach brings the tragedy to life by combining the dramatic use of narrative, recitatives, arias, chorales and choruses.

Bach used a contemporary and well-known hymn, the centuries-old but familiar “O Sacred Head Sore Wounded”, to bring the story home to his audience. It is repeated five times in the work, each time adding a new depth of meaning.

Conductor Jonathan De Vries: “We can credit our performance to Felix Mendelssohn and his rediscovery of Bach’s work in 1829.”

Carla Wesby, soprano, recently sang as soloist in Messiah with Brooklyn Contemporary Chorus and toured with the Mark Morris Dance Group, singing in the voice ensemble of Dido and Aeneas. During the 2014-2015 season she was heard in the extra chorus of Die Meistersinger at the Metropolitan Opera. Previously with Canterbury Choral Society she performed in the “Lord Nelson” Mass and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor.

Jeffrey Mandelbaum, countertenor, made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in The Enchanted Island, singing alongside Joyce DiDonato. He recently made a double Alice Tully Hall debut, singing in Bach’s Magnificat with the American Classical Orchestra and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Riverside Choral Society. This marks Mr. Mandelbaum’ s sixth appearance with Canterbury Choral Society, having first sung Esther 12 years ago, followed by Solomon, St. John Passion, Samson and the B Minor Mass.

Blake Friedman, tenor, first sang with Canterbury Choral Society in 2015 as Nicolas in the 2015 Christmas Concert performance of Britten’s Saint Nicolas. With his “climactic high notes” and “powerful vocals,” tenor Blake Friedman has wowed critics and audiences alike. A native of Chicago, Mr. Friedman recently received rave reviews for his role in Liebeslieder Walzer with New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center, as Tenor Soloist in Van Gogh’s Ear at the Clark Institute, and in Tchaikovsky: None but the Lonely Heart at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Last spring, he sang in the Bach B Minor Mass with Canterbury.

Matthew Curran, bass, first joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in its productions of The Nose and The Magic Flute. He also sang the role of Ferrando in Il Trovatore with Opera in Williamsburg. Praised for his “rich sound” and “stylish power” Matthew brings a strong dramatic instinct to his roles. He has sung on the stages of Zurich Opera, Seattle, Atlanta, Memphis and regional opera houses.

Tickets for the March 5th concert by the Canterbury Choral Society are priced at $25, general admission: $20, seniors; and $10, students. Children 12 and under are free. Tickets are available at the door. For advance booking visit
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