St John Passion
©Bernd Uhlig 

St John Passion

Sasha Waltz choreographed Johann Sebastian Bach's »St John Passion«.

The world premiere took place on 22 March 2024 as part of the Salzburg Easter Festival Salzburg Easter Festival at the Felsenreitschule, before the work was performed on 30 and 31 March 2024 at the Opéra de Dijon.

In spring 2024, Sasha Waltz was commissioned by the Opéra de Dijon to devote herself to Johann Sebastian Bach's »St John Passion«. 300 years after the premiere of the religiously connoted musical work, the choreographer developed a scenic performance under the musical direction of Leonardo García Alarcón. In addition to dancers from the company Sasha Waltz & Guests and Alarcón's ensemble Cappella Mediterranea, the Chœur de chambre de Namur, the choir of the Opéra de Dijon and renowned soloists such as Georg Nigl and Sophie Junker were also involved. The world premiere took place on 22 March 2024 as part of the Salzburg Easter Festival at the Felsenreitschule before the work was performed at the Opéra de Dijon on 30 and 31 March 2024.

Through her choreography, Sasha Waltz stages the St. John Passion as a timeless narrative about the human search for truth and justice beyond its religious implications. It deals with the entanglements of suffering and hope, violence and rebellion in the St. John Passion. She illustrates how our bodies still form surfaces on which (in)justice is inscribed and expressed, how the positioning within space is still an expression of our search for justice; the term »right« can be used in the sense of direction or a right in the legal sense. Not only the universal language of Bach’s

music, but also that of dance can build bridges and give hope in times

of economic and political crisis. To this end, Sasha Waltz will bring 11

dancers, the choir, the soloists and the orchestra together in movement on stage in her St. John Passion.

Bach composed the work in 1724 at the beginning of the very century at the end of which »the gloomy festival of punishment was dying out« (Michel Foucault: »Discipline and Punish«). While Bach still sets the myth of the Christian Passion to music in all its brutality, in Western societies »the body as the main target of penal repression« gradually disappeared and yet the »hold on the body did not entirely disappear, (…) it is always the body that is at issue – the body and its forces, their utility and docility, their distribution and subjugation«.

St John Passion
Johann Sebastian Bach
Sasha Waltz

World premiere
22 March 2024
Salzburg Easter Festival

further performances
30. 31. March 2024
Opéra de Dijon
4. 5. November 2024
Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

Choreography and Direction
Sasha Waltz
Musical Direction
Leonardo García Alarcón
Bernd Skodzig
Heike Schuppelius
David Finn

Dance / Choreography

Rosa Dicuonzo, Yuya Fujinami, Tian Gao, Eva Georgitsopoulou, Hwanhee Hwang,

Annapaola Leso, Jaan Männima, Margaux Marielle-Tréhoüart, Virgis

Puodziunas, Orlando Rodriguez, Joel Suárez Gómez


Diego Noguera

Valerio Contaldo

Georg Nigl

Christian Immler

Benno Schachtner
Sophie Junker
Mark Milhofer


Estelle Contaldo*

Augustin Laudet*


Rafael Galaz Ramirez*


Logan Lopez Gonzales*

Cappella Mediterranea 
Chœur de chambre de Namur*
Choir of Opéra de Dijon

Assistance Direction and Choreography

Steffen Döring

Musical Dramaturgy

Tristan Braun

Repetition Dance

Yael Schnell

Repetition Dance Choir

Tristan Braun, Alessandra Defazio

Assistance Musical Direction

Rodrigo Calveyra

A production of the Opéra de Dijon in co-production with Sasha Waltz & Guests and the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.
With the generous support of Aline Foriel-Destezet.