St Albans Choral Society performs Johann Sebastian Bach’s St John Passion in the Cathedral on Saturday, March 23, with a stellar line-up of soloists, including tenor Mark Dobell as Evangelist and St Albans-based bass baritone Edward Grint as Christus.

The Passion, Bach’s first musical setting of the events leading to Christ’s crucifixion, was first heard nearly 300 years ago on Good Friday 1724. More intense than its later sister piece, the St Matthew Passion, the St John is full of colour and emotional depth.

Exquisite solo arias and chorales allow space for contemplation in Bach’s almost operatic treatment of Christ’s Passion. But increasingly the story moves at breakneck pace, propelled by the chorus giving full force to the visceral urgency, anger, betrayal and sorrow of the Biblical texts.

Combining high drama and introspection with some of the most experimental music Bach composed, the St John has transcended time and place to become one of the greatest works of all western classical music.

The Choral Society will perform in the original German, with Orchestra Nova under conductor George Vass, and six soloists. Dobell is a member of The Sixteen and the Westminster Abbey Choir, while Grint, a graduate of the International Opera School at the Royal College of Music, won praise for the ‘nobility and youth’ of his Christ in a previous performance of the Passion.

The other soloists are Kirsty Hopkins, soprano, Rebecca Afonwy-Jones, mezzo-soprano, Greg Tassell, tenor, and Felix Kemp, baritone.

The concert starts at 7.30pm and tickets are available from The Gift Shop, St Albans Cathedral, by telephoning 01727 890290, or online at

St Albans Cathedral, St Albans, AL1 1BY, Saturday, March 23, 7.30pm.