home home
home home
Dutch National Opera presents

And you must suffer St. John Passion

Tickets sold

Poetry coupled with the story of the Passion

By Johann Sebastian Bach, Samir Odeh-Tamimi, Annelies van Parys

A new, special adaptation of the St John Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach. A production of Muziektheater Transparant as part of the Opera Forward Festival 2017. In co-operation with Dutch National Opera, B'Rock Orchestra and Cappella Amsterdam.

In short

J.S. Bach’s St John Passion is the shorter, but no less powerful counterpart to his St Matthew Passion. What is the significance of this well-known story of the suffering and death of Christ today, in 2017? In And you must suffer, Pierre Audi places the St John Passion in an austere setting, based on images by artist Wim Delvoye. The production reflects on the role of religion, suffering and pity in our times of increasing religious and cultural tension.

The story

On the one hand, the story of the Passion is traditionally an ode to God through Christ’s suffering. On the other, it is a terrible story of a man hounded to his death by an angry mob and a leader who knows he’s got it wrong but won’t give in. In And you must suffer, the Palestinian-Israeli composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi and the Flemish composer Annelies van Parys give a commentary on Bach in new music. Odeh-Tamimi places a new work in the middle, which contrasts with Bach’s music. His composition poses questions and gives comments. At the beginning and end, Van Parys creates a monologue starting in silence, as a reflection on what has happened or is still to come. The austere setting created by Pierre Audi links everything together and an extra layer is added through the video images by Mirjam Devriendt.

And You Must Suffer is thus a contemporary reflection on identity, on religion and its claim to the truth, and on the suffering and pity in this world.


Director Pierre Audi has been the artistic director of Dutch National Opera since 1988 and is renowned for his vision and daring. He has directed a great many productions to international acclaim. His production of Wagner’s monumental Ring cycle is considered one of the most exciting opera productions in recent years. Audi is a great ambassador of new opera repertoire, and aims to convey a contemporary message in his productions.

Pierre Audi: ‘The St John Passion is a dramatic oratorio. It has an almost Shakespearean dimension, which it acquires through the attitude of the three key figures: Christ, St Peter and Pontius Pilatus. The latter two are doubting characters. They are both uncertain’.

The Palestinian-Israeli composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi left for Germany at the age of twenty-two. His culturally diverse background influences his musical style, which combines traditional Arab sounds with modern Western styles.

Production: Muziektheater Transparant and B’Rock Orchestra in coproduction with Nationale Opera, Klarafestival, Kaaitheater, De Munt/La Monnaie, Wroclaw National Forum of Music and Polish Institute. Met een compositieopdracht aan Samir Odeh-Tamimi door Klarafestival/Flanders Festival Brussels en een compositieopdracht aan Annelies Van Parys door Muziektheater Transparant. With a composition commissioned from Samir Odeh-Tamimi by Klarafestival/Flanders Festival Brussels and from Annelies Van Parys by Muziektheater Transparant.

  • © Koen Broos
  • © Koen Broos
  • © Koen Broos
  • © Koen Broos
  • Team, Cast and Chorus

    Director (mise-en-espace) 
    Pierre Audi
    Musical direction 
    Andreas Spering
    Wim Delvoye
    Scenography, costume design 
    Roel Van Berckelaer
    Video design 
    Mirjam Devriendt
    Lighting design 
    Peter Quasters
    Cappella Amsterdam
    Jakob Pilgram
    Dominik Köninger
    Grace Davidson
    Benno Schachtner
    Magnus Staveland
    Tomáš Král

    This production is part of the Opera Forward Festival and is made possible in part by:

    Founding Partners Opera Forward Festival

    Fonds21 van den Ende Foundation


    Partners Opera Forward Festival

    VSB BankGiroLoterij Fonds Dioraphte Bylandtstichting