Christmas Oratorio I-VI
Ballet by John Neumeier
Director: Thomas Grimm
Distributor: C Major Entertainment
Length: 156 min.
16:9 shot in HD-Cam
© 2014, a BFMI production in co-production with ZDF/Arte in association with Hamburg Ballett
“Re­joice, ex­ult” – In­fec­tiously joy­ful and ex­cit­ing !

The Christ­mas Ora­tor­io’s first three parts, de­signed for the first three days of Christ­mas, are about the Christ­mas Story’s core: the par­tic­u­lars of the child’s birth and the ap­pear­ance of the an­gels to the shep­herds on the field. Like­wise, based on the nar­rat­ive of the evan­gel­ists Luke and Mat­thew, are the second half’s three parts (IV-VI): the child’s cir­cum­cision on New Year’s Day, his ad­or­a­tion by the three wise men and fi­nally his per­se­cu­tion by Herod.

When Bach’s Christ­mas Ora­tor­io opens with the words “Re­joice, ex­ult” one sur­renders will­ingly to the sen­sa­tion of float­ing. The rous­ing joy of this chor­us and its un­ques­tion­ing op­tim­ism seem bound­less. Ac­cord­ing to John Neumei­er, the open­ing chor­us of the six-part ora­tor­io “pro­jects a re­lent­lessly rush­ing joy – not yet aware of ori­gin­al sin”. The chor­us sings of hope, not of an already ful­filled re­demp­tion.

Neumei­er adds: “Sal­va­tion is not a for­gone con­clu­sion, but is rather something that needs to be con­stantly earned and pre­pared for. As soon as the mu­sic of the ‘Re­joice’ chor­us be­gins – and this is the won­der­ful thing about Bach’s mu­sic – a flame in­side us ig­nites, light­ing up the ir­res­ist­ible feel­ing of joy. When the mu­sic ends, si­lence reigns again and we re­turn to our own life on earth”.
Bach’s work com­mem­or­ates the in­carn­a­tion of Christ, with de­tails of Je­sus’ birth taken from the gos­pels of Luke and Mat­thew. The moth­er, the fath­er and the child, the shep­herd and the an­gels, the wise men from the East, King Herod, a con­stantly mi­grat­ing group of people, and a man pro­tect­ing a little Christ­mas tree form an out­er circle of char­ac­ters that lead us deep­er in­to the more fun­da­ment­al, hu­man ques­tions of trust, re­li­ance, faith, doubt and ded­ic­a­tion. The bib­lic­al story be­comes a story for us all.


John Neumei­er, cho­reo­graphy, cos­tumes & light­ing concept

Jo­hann Se­basti­an Bach
Christ­mas Ora­tor­io , BWV 248 (1734)
Phil­har­monik­er Ham­burg
Al­les­andro De Mar­chi, con­duct­or
Eber­hard Friedrich, chor­us mas­ter
Ju­li­an Prégardi­en, evan­gel­ist
Melissa Petit, sop­rano
Katja Pieweck, alto
Manuel Günther, ten­or
Wil­helm Schwing­ham­mer, bass

Lloyd Rig­gins, A Man
Anna Laud­ere, The Moth­er
Edv­in Re­vazov, Her Hus­band
Carsten Jung, A Shep­herd
Silvia Azzoni, an­gel
Al­ex­an­dr Trusch, An­gel
Dario Fanconi, The King
Marc Jubete, Sasha Riva, Stuhr­mann, The Three Wise Men
Leslie Heylmann, Len­nart Radtke, Yuki Oishi, Sil­vano Bal­lone

Ferdin­and Wögerbauer, set design