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Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who is rector of Ss Cyril and Methodius Postgraduate and Doctoral School of the Russian Orthodox Church, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist at the Patriarchal Metochion of the Chernigov Wonderworkers. The following day, an announcement of the US premier of his St Matthew Passion was made.
St. Matthew Passion NY City Premiere, February 7, 2011, with Carlo Ponti, Jr. Conducting
The English-language U.S. premiere of the St. Matthew Passion, by Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, will debut in New York City on February 7, 2011. This original and fresh work of sacred music—which has received standing ovations from huge audiences in Moscow, Rome, Melbourne, and Toronto—will be presented at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle. Maestro Carlo Ponti, Jr. will conduct the performance, with The Salomé Chamber Orchestra, famed soloists soprano Mary Mackenzie, mezzo-soprano Ana Mihanovic, and tenor Timothy Parsons, and the New York Virtuoso Singers prepared by Harold Rosenbaum. (read more) 
The event is being hosted by St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY, in cooperation with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. As a prelude to the season of Great Lent, the composition will convey St. Matthew's Gospel account of the Passion—using scriptural texts interspersed with texts of the liturgical services of the Orthodox Christian Church that are normally sung during Holy Week—in the forms of music recitative, choruses, fugues, and arias.
"Just as J.S. Bach drew church congregations into the drama of Christ's Passion in his day, so now, Metropolitan Hilarion is offering our post-modern world a corresponding experience with his own St. Matthew Passion, a profound piece that combines Gospel narrative with liturgical texts," said seminary Chancellor Archpriest Chad Hatfield. "We invite lovers of sacred music to hear this magnificent, inspired work, which not only is beautifully stirring but also is a testament to the Christian faith."
The composer, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who is Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department of External Church Relations and an episcopal member of Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir's Seminary, will also be present at the premiere. His musical expertise and reputation are famed; he studied composition at Moscow Gnessins School of Music and subsequently at the Moscow State Conservatory. In 1987 he was ordained priest, and since 2002 he has been a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The concert is being underwritten by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the St. Gregory the Theologian Charity Foundation, with the cooperative efforts of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.