The Passion of the Christ, a worldwide phenomenon as both a film and score album, continues its miraculous momentum with The Passion Concert, written and conducted by Academy Award nominated composer John Debney. Its worldwide premiere performance takes place on July 6th at 8pm at Rome's Santa Cecilia Arena. Under Debney's direction, the performance features special guest vocalist Lisbeth Scott and woodwind soloist Pedro Eustache, plus solo musicians from both the film and the classical world. A multimedia presentation will accompany the show, with images of great historical artwork and new photography highlighting key moments in the music. Debney says, “It is my honor to be premiering the work in Rome with one of the world's pre-eminent orchestras and Maestro Gabbiani's incredible choir.”
According to Debney, “The Passion of the Christ Symphony is something I have wanted to do ever since I composed the musical score to Mel Gibson's film.” The symphony is a major new work based on and drawing from themes Debney composed for the film, the score for which won Debney an Academy Award nomination earlier this year. The score also was honored with a Dove Award for “Instrumental Album of the Year” at Nashville's 36th Annual Gospel Music Awards.
The 30-voice choir, featuring soloist Lisbeth Scott, who co-wrote the lyrics with John Debney, will perform a custom suite from The Passion of The Christ which will include "Mary Goes To Jesus," "Raising The Cross" and "The Resurrection.” Debney will employ ancient instruments including Taiko drums, tom toms and world woodwinds. He explains, “It is a new work in seven movements expressing the Passion in an emotional and spiritually uplifting way. It is intended as a work of deep faith for Christians as well as people of all faiths to help foster a turning back to God. It's also intended to bring the experience of the film to a very broad audience sharing the universal ideals of Love, Faith, Hope and Mercy.”
Referring to the music, director/producer Mel Gibson commented, "This score, with its mix of ethnic authenticity and symphonic sweetness, propels the brutal image to a higher, almost lyrical plane. It had to be an extraordinary piece of work, something that helped the images. It had to tell a lot. John made my film 10 times better."
The RIAA Gold Certified “The Passion of the Christ” original soundtrack recording on Sony Music/Integrity topped Billboard's Soundtrack Chart its first full week of sales and remained number one for weeks. The album beat the first week numbers of such notable score successes as “Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter.” The film has grossed over half a billion dollars at the box office worldwide.
With a diverse list of film credits includes Sin City, The Pacifier, Elf, The Scorpion King, Bruce Almighty and Spy Kids, John Debney is one of the most successful composers in Hollywood. To his success, Debney utilizes both his classical training and strong knowledge of contemporary sounds in order to adapt to his assignments. In addition to his composing projects, Debney is a supporter of classic film scores, embarking on a series of CD recordings of classical film scores for Varese Sarabande Records, conducting works including Superman, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and Titanic with The Royal Scottish National Orchestra.