Cappella Caeciliana presents an atmospheric and emotive St John Passion in Crumlin Road Gaol

27th March, 2023

Cappella Caeciliana presents an atmospheric and emotive St John Passion in Crumlin Road Gaol

Cappella Caeciliana performing in Carlisle Church, Belfast.
Cappella Caeciliana performing in Carlisle Church, Belfast.

Lucky ticketholders are looking forward to a very innovative performance of the St John Passion this coming weekend thanks to funding from the National Lottery via the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, supplemented by sponsorship from Deloitte and Power NI.

Leading chamber choir Cappella Caeciliana will present Bach’s timeless masterwork In Belfast’s Crumlin Road Gaol on 2nd April (Palm Sunday). This will mark the 25thanniversary of the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement and will also be an introduction to the celebrations of the 300th anniversary of its composition taking place next year. The performance will be semi-staged, making use of the gaol’s distinctive balconies, spiral staircase and other features. The evening will have a “street theatre” feel to it, with the performers attired in casual clothing and the layout of the seating being changed at the interval.

With the very strong lineup of soloists including Zahid Siddiqui, Malachy Frame, Emma Morwood, Margaret Bridge, John Porter and Adam Reaney, the choir is pleased to showcase homegrown vocal talent throughout the performance.

An orchestra of professional players will also include four musicians from the Ulster Youth Orchestra, part of Cappella Caeciliana’s ongoing drive to support and encourage young talent. Similarly, Youth Action NI will supply a front of house team as part of a project to develop public-facing and event management skills in its youth base.

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music and Opera at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said

“With funding from The National Lottery, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to support Cappella Caeciliana with this very special celebration of music in the atmospheric surroundings of Crumlin Road Gaol. As well as featuring this leading choir under the expert baton of Matthew Quinn, the concert showcases some of our most exciting vocal talent.”

Cappella’s Musical Director Matthew Quinn said 

“We are delighted to have received this funding which enables us to present Bach’s St John Passion at Crumlin Road Gaol this weekend. Our cast and professional orchestra features some of the finest musicians from across the UK and Ireland, all of whom feel passionately about this music. It’s a deeply emotive work, musically setting Christ’s final days to music and it will make the audience feel horrified and uplifted in equal measure. More than this, it reflects on what it is to be human and is still strikingly relevant almost four centuries after it was written.”

The performance sold out very quickly and there will be no tickets be available at the door. However those interested in attending future performances by Cappella Caeciliana can be notified of them by signing up to the mailing list on the group’s website –