Bach, Handel this weekend

The weekend holds a double treat for music lovers: Bach’s «Saint Matthew’s Passion» will be interpreted at the Athens Concert Hall tomorrow and Sunday, and Handel’s opera «Xerxes» will be performed at the National Opera on Sunday. Both of the performances have been presented in Athens before and are being repeated due to their previous success. «St Matthew’s Passion» will be interpreted by the Stuttgart Bach Academy and the Camerata Orchestra, conducted by Helmuth Rilling, with the participation of the Gaechinger Kantorei Choir and the Winds Ensemble of the Stuttgart Bach Academy. Interpreters include the mezzo-soprano Ingeborg Danz, tenor James Taylor and baritone Andreas Schmidt. The concert will take place both tomorrow and Sunday at the Friends of Music Hall. Handel’s «Xerxes» will be on at the National Opera on Sunday and on December 3, 5 and 7. The baroque opera, which was composed in 1738, is considered to be Handel’s most successful and popular. The libretto is a comic love story and has little to do with historical fact: The king of the Persians, on his way to take over Greece, is stationed at the Hellespont and is worried about how to cross it. At the same time, he is troubled by his love life, since he loves a girl who is in love with someone else. The opera is conducted by Vassilis Christopoulos and directed by James Carson. The set design and costumes are by Giorgos Souglidis and the choreographies by Kyriakos Kosmidis. Interpreters include Mary-Ellen Nezi as Xerxes, Nikos Spanos, Mata Katsouli, Marita Paparizou and others. Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali & Vas. Sofias, tel 210.728.2000. National Opera, 59-61 Academias, tel 210.361.1516.