Adam’s Passion, Arvo Pärt
The Estonian composer Arvo Pärt has a stellar reputation he built on his neoclassical works, and Adam's Passion is one glowing recent example thereof. Four separate pieces, including one created particularly for this production, are combined in one unique, breath-taking performance. The original production design by Robert Wilson ensures that every moment feels organic and abundant, while the orchestra and choir of Teatro dell'Opera di Roma reproduce Pärt's sophisticated, magnificent score live. On 12 May 2015, Adam's Passion made its stage debut in Tallinn, Estonia's Noblessner Foundry. This season, Rome's Teatro Costanzi brings back a performance that delivers an unmatched neoclassical experience.
Four musical sections make up Adam's Passion. Three of them were part of Pärt’s prior repertoire. In 2009, he composed Adam's Lament. The choral composition has its roots in the Russian Orthodox story of the same name by St Silouan of Athos. The story revolves around Adam's grief over his original sin, which caused him to be expelled from the Garden of Eden. According to Pärt, the meaning of the work is universal since Adam’s sin and subsequent lamentation are typical of both mankind as a whole and with each individual. The second piece is Tabula Rasa, a double violin concerto in two movements that had its world premiere in Tallinn on 30 September 1977. Its unfolding, repeating patterns in a canon-like framework are nothing short of mesmerising. The choral cries for mercy and the thundering drum rolls of judgment days that characterise Miserere break the trance-like mood of the previous parts and escalate the tension towards a moving finale.
Sequentia, the newly composed piece that wraps Adam’s Passion, delivers just that. Its tender violin leitmotif invites more instruments in until a classic Pärt-style canon develops that brings the work to a definitive conclusion. Like the musical patterns repeat, so do the themes of regret, resignation, reinvention, and redemption form concentric cycles throughout the work. The exquisite lights and stage design by Robert Wilson flawlessly convey the nuanced moods and movements in Pärt's compositions, creating a superb audio-visual crescendo effect that pulls audiences in immediately, as visitors of Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera di Roma are bound to find out.