15 Championing Martinu’s The Greek Passion
The opening of the second scene of Britten’s Gloriana – Dame Josephine Barstow was Queen Elisabeth the First of England, Alan Opie sang Sir Robert Cecil, the Secretary of the Council, and the Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera was conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras. That was the very first recording ever made of Gloriana, and it was with Welsh National Opera soloists plus a few other singers that Sir Charles conducted the very first recording of a work by a Czechoslovakian composer who, like Janacek, he passionately championed: Bohuslav Martinu – and the opera was The Greek Passion. As it happens, its subject has a very powerful resonance in our own time today.
INTERVIEW 2-11: CHARLES MACKERRAS
MUSIC 8: GREEK PASSION (SUPRAPHON 10-3611-2)
Manolios is attacked by the villagers and slain by Panait, the Judas figure – who took his cue from the village priest Father Grigoris! In that extract from Martinu’s The Greek Passion conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras, Manolios was sung by John Mitchinson, Panait was Jeffery Lawton, and Grigoris was Sir John Tomlinson. The Czech Philharmonic Chorus were the villagers, and the orchestra was the Brno State Philharmonic.