Passion of the Christ Symphony to Premiere in Rome Next Month

Classic Arts News   Passion of the Christ Symphony to Premiere in Rome Next Month
A new symphony by John Debney based on his score for the film The Passion of the Christ will be premiered by the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome on July 6.

The symphony makes use of a standard orchestra and choir, and features vocal soloists as well as the duduk, an ancient Armenian wind instrument; bamboo flute; and Japanese taiko drums. It includes a prologue set in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was betrayed and arrested; seven movements corresponding to the seven Stations of the Cross; and a Resurrection Epilogue.

"My symphony expresses the Passion in an emotional and spiritually uplifting way," Debney said in a statement. "It is intended as a work of deep faith for Christians as well as people of all faiths to help foster a turning back to God."

After the premiere at Rome's Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Columbia Artists Management will produce a worldwide tour; dates and cities have not yet been announced. Organizers also hope that the work will become a regular feature of Easter-season performances.

The Passion of the Christ, directed, produced, and co-written by actor and director Mel Gibson, was released in March 2004 and became a massive worldwide hit; it was both praised and condemned for its explicit depiction of Christ's suffering on the cross.

There is a precedent for the successful conversion of a film score into concert music: The Lord of the Rings Symphony, based on the Howard Shore score for the three films, has sold out dozens of performances around the world.

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