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Frisian St Matthew Passion.

Composer and lyricist Peter Sijbenga has been commissioned by the Noord Nederlands Orkest (NNO) to create a Frisian version of the St Matthew Passion, the famous oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach. German can be translated very well into Frisian, owing to its flexibility.

“Leeuwarden 2018 is a great opportunity to show once again that the NNO has a Frisian predecessor, namely the Frysk Orchest”, says Marcel Mandos, artistic director and programmer of the orchestra. Hence the decision to commission Sijbenga. Bach composed the St Matthew Passion around 1736. The oratorio tells the story of the suffering and death of Jesus, as recorded by his friend and disciple Matthew. Peter Sijbenga: “I will translate, not adapt or modernise. That doesn’t mean that I’ll use Âld-Frysk, but I will stay as close to the Urtext (original text) as possible, both in style and content.” The German text lends itself well to translation into Frisian. In terms of flexibility and sound, it is closer to German than Dutch. Sijbenga: “It’s also nice that there grammatical and idiomatic similarities between Frisian and German. For example, both languages have the same word order.”

The Frisian St Matthew Passion will be performed in 2018 by the Noord Nederlands Orkest and the Noord Nederlands Concertkoor, accompanied by Frisian singers.

Where & when
22 March, 07.30 pm, Stadsschouwburg De Harmonie, Leeuwarden
23 March, 07.30 pm, St. Martinuskerk, Dokkum
24 March, 07.30 pm, Grote Kerk, Harlingen
27 March, 07.30 pm, Schouwburg De Lawei, Drachten
29 March, 07.30 pm, De Oosterpoort, Groningen
30 March, 07.30 pm, Theater Sneek, Sneek
More information & ticketing