As part of the Oregon Bach Festival, Eugene audiences will be treated to the world premiere of “The Passion of Yeshua” on Sunday.
Danielpour: “Passion oratorios are traditionally a musical work, and Bach’s passions are the most well-known, depicting the last 24 hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth.”
Danielpour says he’s been thinking about writing “The Passion of Yeshua for about 25 years. He says he wanted to take the story back to its Jewish origins.
Danielpour: “As if we were time-travelling back to 33 AD and could suspend, just temporarily, the 1800 years of craziness, horrors and atrocities committed in the name of organized Christianity and go back to, go back to the story, go back to the sense of place.”
Danielpour also wanted to give the women in the story a powerful voice. He says the gospels are very male-dominated.
Danielpour: “And yet, the two Marys, Mary the mother of Jesus, and if you’re calling her by her Hebrew name it’s Miriam, right? And Mary Magdalene, who was Miriam Magdala, in the Hebrew, these are women who were like vortexes in the story. You can sort of feel their presence but you very rarely hear them.”
Danielpour says he started composing the piece about 2 years ago. He’s been tinkering with it ever since. He says he’s excited to experience the world premiere with Eugene concert-goers.
Danielpour: “You know, it’s a kind of a special deal for the composer to be alive and for a piece to be received for the very first time by the audience. So that in that way the audience becomes a kind of especially active set of participants.”
Danielpour was born to Iranian parents of both Jewish and Christian faith. He says he sees music as a force to unify people.
Danielpour: “I’ve always thought that one of the miracles of music and the presence of music is that it has the potential for bringing people together. In a way it has the potential for healing. And that’s really, I think, one of the things that’s so wonderful about institutions like the Oregon Bach Festival.”
Richard Danielpour’s “The Passion of Yeshua” premieres Sunday afternoon at 2 at the Silva Concert Hall of the Hult Center in Eugene as part of the Oregon Bach Festival.