The rich Greek village community of the Lykovrysi residents, hold the Passion Plays every seven years at Easter – the re-enacting of the Chris's last days – playing the role of biblical characters, including the Savior. During the preparation for the mystery, refugees come to the village and ask for help, which they are denied. Then, Biblical events are repeated in the Greek village.
The Libretto is based on Nikos Kazantzakis' novel, who is known to the general public for two screen versions of his works: The Last Temptation of Christ and Zorba the Greek. The action is based on a true story that took place in Greece in 1919-1921, as well as on the real tradition of the arrangement of the Easter mysteries. The author of the opera, the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu, wrote more than 400 works, including operas and ballets. The Greek Passion was finished in 1957 and was offered to the Covent Garden Theatre, but the production was cancelled. The composer gave out a separate score sheets of The Passion to friends and produced a second version of the opera – another opera, in fact. The first version was later restored. It took three years to find scattered scores throughout the world. In Russia The Greek Passion was staged for the first time in 2018 by Ural Opera.
The musical images of the opera are easily understood by a modern listener, accustomed to style contrasts. In the course of his work, Martinu studied Orthodox chants and Greek folklore; on an equal footing, the score includes the findings of the expressionist composers and more traditional tonal episodes, as well as spoken lines. Brief episodes are mounted side-by-side and with overlap, the action is rapidly moving to the denouement: Martinu borrowed expressive techniques of The Greek Passion from the cinema.