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St Matthew Passion BWV 244

St Matthew Passion BWV 244

The London Handel Festival’s celebrated performance of JS Bach’s St Matthew Passion returns in 2023. 


This special performance on Good Friday re-creates the work in the way it was intended to be heard. Sung in German and as part of the Good Friday Vespers service, this is a rare opportunity to experience the work in its original liturgical context, complete with sermon and congregational hymns. 

Please note, this performance has now sold out with an extensive waitlist. Tickets will not be available to purchase on the day. 

You are welcome to download the programme notes and biographies here.


Soprano: Anna Dennis 

Anna was born in Buffalo, USA and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. Operatic appearances have included Handel’s Theodora at the Göttingen Handel Festspiele, Katie Mitchell’s New Dark Age at the Royal Opera House, Mozart’s Idomeneo at Birmingham Opera Company, Damon Albarn’s Dr Dee at English National Opera, Gluck’s Paride Ed Elena at Nuremberg Opera house and roles in all three Monteverdi operas during John Eliot Gardiner’s world tour of the trilogy. She recently created the title role of Violet in Tom Coult’s debut opera, premiered at the Aldeburgh festival.

In concert she has sung with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Maxim Emelyanychev and Peter Whelan, Orchestra of St Luke’s in New York, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Orquestra Gulbenkian, les Violons du Roy, Britten Sinfonia, and Sinfonietta Riga. She has sung Britten’s War Requiem at the Berlin Philharmonie and Thomas Ades’ Life Story, accompanied by the composer, at New York’s White Light Festival.
This season she has performed Antony Burgess setting of TS Eliot’s The Wasteland with Benedict Cumberbatch and Britten Sinfonia at the Charleston Festival, Bach’s Mein Herze Schwimmt im Blut with Kristian Bezuidenhout in Riga, and Haydn’s Creation with Paul McCreesh and Gabrieli.

Future plans include Britten song cycles in Snape Maltings’ centenary weekend celebration, Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the Dunedin Consort, Haydn’s Jahreszeiten with Düsseldorfer Sinfoniker under Adam Fischer, and Handel’s Judas Maccabeus with AKAMUS at the Berlin Philharmonie.

Her recordings include Elena Langer’s Landscape with Three People, the Grammy-nominated Kastalsky Requiem with Orchestra of St Luke’s under Leonard Slatkin, Handel’s Theodora with Laurence Cummings, and the upcoming release of Handel Amadigi di Gayla with Early Opera Company under Christian Curnyn.

Countertenor: Tim Mead 

Highlights of the 2022/23 season include his return to the Teatro Real, Madrid for Ulisse Achille In Sciro and Oberon A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Glyndebourne Festival. On the concert platform, he will complete a European tour of Handel Messiah with RIAS Kammerchor, Hamor Jeptha with Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart, Handel Ode For The Birthday Of Queen Anne with Les Violons Du Roy and return to the Wigmore Hall.

Recent operatic highlights include Dardano Amadigi for Garsington Opera, Apollo Death in Venice at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Ulisse Achille in Sciro at the Teatro Real, Madrid, Athamas Semele for Opera Philadelphia, Goffredo Rinaldo at Glyndebourne, Endimione La Calisto for Teatro Real, Madrid and at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Bertarido Rodelinda for Opera de Lille, Oberon A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Opera Philadelphia, Glyndebourne and Bergen National Opera, Hamor Jephtha at the Opéra National de Paris, the title role Akhnaten and Ottone Agrippina for Opera Vlaanderen, Boy/Angel Written on Skin at the Bolshoi, Bertarido Rodelinda at English National Opera, and Arsamene in Cavalli Xerse with Le Concert d’Astrée at Opéra de Lille, Theater an der Wien, and Théâtre de Caen.

On the concert platform, recent highlights include Handel Messiah with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Wrocław Baroque Orchestra, Bach St Matthew Passion with Collegium Vocale Gent in a European tour, Pergolesi Stabat Mater at the BBC Proms, Handel Jephtha with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the BBC Proms, a European recital tour with Emmanuelle Haim and Le Concert d’Astree, Bach St John Passion with Jonathan Cohen and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, an appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall, a tour of Asia with Harry Bicket and The English Concert, Athamas Semele with the CBSO and the Handel and Haydn Society, Didymus Theodora with the Akademie fur Alte Musik, the world premiere of Theo Loevendie Spinoza at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Handel Messiah with Robin Ticciati and the Deutsches Symfonie-Orchester Berlin, the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Gabrieli Consort, Handel & Haydn Society, Academy of Ancient Music, and Le Concert d’Astree, Bach B Minor Mass with The English Concert and with Les Arts Florissants and William Christie, Bach Magnificat with Le Concert d’Astree, Bach St Matthew Passion with London Handel Festival and De Nederlandse Bachvereniging, Handel Theodora with the English Concert, Handel Solomon with Akademie für Alte Musik, Handel Judas Maccabaeus with the OAE, and Handel Joseph and his Brethren at the International Händel Festspiele Göttingen.

Mead’s substantial discography includes the most recent releases; Purcell Songs and Dances with Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien on Alpha and Pergolesi Stabat Mater and Bach Cantatas with La Nuova Musica on Harmonia Mundi.

Mead read Music as a choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, before continuing his vocal studies at the Royal College of Music.

Tenor: Nathan Vale 

Nathan Vale studied with Ryland Davies at the Royal College of Music and Benjamin Britten International Opera School. He was awarded an Independent Opera Vocal Scholarship to the National Opera Studio, where he was further supported by the Elmley Foundation, ENO, the Nicholas John Trust and The Seary Trust. He is a former winner of the London Handel Singing Competition where he was also awarded the Audience Prize. He continues his studies with David Pollard.

With the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, he has sung Bach’s Christmas Oratorio conducted by Harry Chistophers and Arias in Bach’s St John Passion conducted by Paul Goodwin and with the RAI Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn’s Die Erste Walpurgisnacht conducted by Sir Neville Marriner and Theory/Arithmetic in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges conducted by Jeffrey Tate. Other highlights include Evangelist in Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the London Handel Players conducted by Laurence Cummings and with the Northern Sinfonia conducted by Thomas Zehetmair, Handel’s Ode for St Cecilia’s Day with both the Israeli Camerata and the Riga Chamber Choir conducted by Avner Byron, Arias in Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano conducted by Ruben Jais, Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings at the Hong Kong Festival, and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Bach Choir conducted by David Hill.

A former winner of the AESS English Song Competition, Nathan is a committed recitalist. He has appeared at the Wigmore Hall, the Three Choirs Festival, the Temple Recital Series with Julius Drake, the Hong Kong Festival, the Housman, Gurney, Warlock and Ireland Societies with Graham Johnson, and the Crush Room ROH with Audrey Hyland. He has also recorded Love’s Voice (Songs by FInzi, Gurney, Ireland and Venables) for SOMM Records.

His operatic engagements have included Lurcanio Ariodante at the Bolshoi Opera, Belfiore La finta giardiniera for Luxembourg Opera and for Opera Baugé, First Priest & First Armed Man The Magic Flute for ENO, Oronte Alcina and Lurcanio Ariodante for English Touring Opera, First Prisoner Fidelio for Glyndebourne Festival, Grimoaldo Rodelinda for Iford Opera, Evangelist St John Passion (fully staged) Teatro Massimo Palermo and Mr Buchanan in the The Opera Group’s award-winning production of Street Scene.

This season will see a return to Snape Maltings in the newly commissioned To See the Invisible by Emily Howard, Arias in Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano and Ruben Jais, Evangelist in Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the Camerata Copenhagen and Martin Nagashima Toft and for the London Handel Society Orchestra and Laurence Cummings, recitals in Hong Kong and the second in a series of Quilter recordings for Nimbus Records.

Bass: Timothy Nelson 

Timothy Nelson gained a degree in Physiology from Cardiff University before studying with Peter Savidge at the Royal College of Music International Opera School, where he was awarded the McCulloch Prize for Opera. He was a Jerwood Young Artist at the Glyndebourne Festival; a winner of Bruce Millar Gulliver Prize, the RCM Joan Chissell Schumann Competition and the Gerald Moore Award Singers Prize; and was a recipient of an Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells Postgraduate Voice Fellowship.

In the current season engagements include a tour of Gilbert and Sullivan concerts with Tarantara!; Bach Christmas Oratorio with Polyphony and the Britten Sinfonia; and Zurga (cover) in The Pearl Fishers for Opera North.

Operatic performances include Marcello La bohème and Lieutenant Gordon Silent Night (Opera North); Nathan in the world premiere of Pleasure (Opera North/Aldeburgh/ROH); Sid Albert Herring (The Grange Festival); Anténor Dardanus (English Touring Opera); and Mustafa L’italiana in AlgeriFalke Die Fledermaus and Escamillo Carmen (Diva Opera). Roles at the RCM International Opera School include Figaro Le nozze di FigaroPapageno Die Zauberflöte, Ramiro L’heure espagnole and Don Pomponio Rossini’s La gazzetta; and multiple roles at the London Handel Festival.

He has also covered roles including Ramiro L’heure espagnole and Malatesta Don Pasquale (Glyndebourne); Belcore L’elisir d’amore and Dandini La Cenerentola (Opera North); Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream (English National Opera); and Solanio The Merchant of Venice (Welsh National Opera).

Recent solo performances include Karl Jenkins The Armed Man at the Royal Albert Hall; Handel Messiah livestreamed for the London Handel Festival and at the Royal Festival Hall; Rossini Petite messe solennelle at The Three Choirs Festival; Haydn Creation with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the English Haydn Festival; Bach St. John Passion at Cadogan Hall; and the world premiere of Some Call it Home with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Conductor: Laurence Cummings

London Handel Orchestra 

Choir of St George’s, Hanover Square 


Tickets: £55/£45/£35/£25/£15*

Please note, £25 tickets are restricted viewing and have a limited view of the performers. £15 tickets are heavily restricted viewing and you may not be able to see the performers at all from these seats. 


Booking Dates

Monday 21 November: tickets on sale to Major Donors and Director’s Circle
Wednesday 23 November: tickets on sale to Gold Patrons
Friday 25 November: tickets on sale to Patron’s Circle
Monday 28 November: tickets on sale to Festival Benefactors
Wednesday 30th November: tickets on sale to Associate Benefactors
Friday 2 December: tickets on sale to Friends
Monday 5 December: tickets on sale to General public

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