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Invictus: A Passion, at St. John's Smith Square

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Invictus: A Passion 

The Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

Oxford Baroque 

Mark Dobell


Kirsty Hopkins


Stephen Darlington


Howard Goodall

Invictus: A Passion (UK premiere)


Foundling Hospital Anthem HWV268

Poems by various authors are juxtaposed with the 1611 verse narrative of the biblical Passion by Æmelia Lanyer, one of the first books published in the English language by a female poet. One aspect of the Passion particularly guides the choice of texts: the role and perspective of women.

Its world premiere will be in Houston, Texas, on Palm Sunday 2018 and tonight’s concert is its UK premiere.

To our shame, its contemporary theme of suffering would be agonisingly familiar to those who established the Foundling Hospital in 1739, for which Handel wrote his glorious Anthem for a fund-raising concert in 1749. The fourth movement of Howard Goodall’s work includes a telling extract from William Wilberforce’s speech to Parliament in 1791: “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”  Tonight’s concert enables us to reflect on this through the medium of two different works, closely linked together in their exploration of universal themes.