Bach performance dedicated to Belsonia Paul

Victoria Philharmonic Choir Dedicates Bach St. John Passion Performance to Founding Donor Belsonia Paul

Saturday, April 4, 2015, 7:30 pm
First Metropolitan United Church

Victoria Philharmonic Choir dedicates Bach performance to founding donor Belsonia Paul

On the eve of Easter, Peter Butterfield and the Victoria Philharmonic Choir offer J.S. Bach’s dramatic — even operatic — setting of the story of Christ’s final days and crucifixion. The story-telling role of the Evangelist will be sung by tenor Benjamin Butterfield, with bass-baritone Nathan McDonald as Christus, and soprano Jane Long, mezzo-soprano Sarah Fryer, tenor Josh Lovell and Montreal-based baritone Nathaniel Watson. Victoria Symphony violinist Christi Meyers leads the orchestra of musicians brought together for the occasion for their skills in baroque repertoire.

Conductor Peter Butterfield, who has performed as both Evangelist and tenor soloist on a number of occasions, plans a semi-staged production that tosses out the usual 19th century-style formality and brings the audience closer to the story. It is through the semi-staged aspect that the drama will manifest itself, both through the characters in the story, and through the reflective arias. In a series of theatrical choruses, and chorales based on 17th-century Lutheran hymns, the 70-voice choir reflects the emotions of the crowd, whether angry, mocking and defiant, or anxiously pleading for spiritual comfort.

This performance is dedicated to the memory of Belsonia Bogatin Paul (1920-2014). The Belsonia Bogatin and Frank Paul Foundation, administered through the Victoria Foundation, provided crucial support to VPC during its early years. The choir has become a significant part of Victoria’s musical life, presenting 3 to 4 concerts per year in collaboration with emerging and established soloists and orchestras, including the Victoria Symphony. The VPC Board, Music Director Peter Butterfield, and choristers remember Bel’s presence at our concerts, and her generous support, with deep gratitude.

Tickets to the St. John Passion are $30 regular, $15 for students, available at Ivy’s Bookshop, Munro’s Books, The Shieling, Tanner’s Books, online at and possibly at the door.