Performing Arts Series: Matthäus-Passion-2727 #2 By Yossi Zwecker

Performing Arts Series: Matthäus-Passion-2727 #2 By Yossi Zwecker

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This performance, an Israeli-German co-production that premiered in Germany in 2017, grapples with the story of the Crucifixion, a myth which has intensified hatred towards the Jewish people for centuries, and transforms it into a universal story of compassion, tolerance and acceptance. In the photographs, Zwecker focuses on grand, dramatic moments bursting with intense feeling. There are no props involved: the drama is created solely by means of the dancers’ bodies and the lighting.

Matthaus Passion, a choreography by Tamir Ginz, was performed by the Kamea Dance Company and premiered in Germany in 2017, an Israeli-German coproduction. The birth of the production is a story of closure: Arno Geralch, the chairman of the Wuppertal Kantorei Barmen-Gemark choir and the son of a death-train driver, asked Ginz, the son of a Holocaust survivor, to choreograph the piece. For both artists, the production was a way of building a bridge between the Jewish people and the Germans, and creating a path for peace between Christians and Jews by emphasizing the core messages of love and peace in Christianity. The show grapples with the story of the Crucifixion and the betrayal of Judas Iscariot as described in Christian mythology, a myth which has intensified hatred toward the Jewish people for centuries, and transforms it into a story of compassion, tolerance and acceptance.

Ginz is the second choreographer in dance history to take on Bach’s great masterpiece. The ballet occurs in the future, in the year 2720: 1000 years after Bach’s mass was written. Ginz imagines broken people searching for a messiah to rescue them, longing for love and encouragement. In Ginz's interpretation, Jesus is everyman, and Bach's Jesuit myth becomes universal and timeless, an emotional experience beyond time and place in which the vulnerability that connects all human beings is lovingly exposed.

In the photographs of this performance, Zwecker focuses on grand, dramatic moments bursting with intense feeling. The tactile interactions between the dancers are reinforced by the red shades of crisp lighting.  There are no props involved: the drama is created solely by means of the dancers' bodies and the lighting.

The Performing Arts Series

Zwecker conceives of the work of the photographer with on-stage productions as a unique challenge, different from all other forms of the art. “Photography of the performing arts are a world away from news photography,” claims Zwecker. “It is emotionally draining because you have no idea what will happen next. The light dims; you are in the dark. It is impossible to check on the camera’s functions while photographing. These are the most difficult conditions for a photographer: the lighting shifts in seconds, the exposure changes, the setup moves in an instant and you have to respond in real-time, capturing the moment. If you want to reliably produce good photos, you need a deep understanding of your tool and be able to fully control it; and you need to understand the music that you are capturing.”

Yossi Zwecker

Born in Israel in 1965, Yossi Zwecker began his career as a news photographer before specializing in photography of the performing arts. He collaborates extensively with leading Israeli theater companies, dance troupes, and music venues, and currently serves as the house photographer for the Israel Opera House, Tel Aviv Center for Performing Arts, and the Israeli Ballet.
Read more about Yossi here