The Nelson Civic Choir opens their 2017 season with Rossini’s sparkling Petite Messe Solennelle, in the wonderful setting of Nelson Cathedral.
The choir is complemented by four accomplished local soloists: Zoe Bennett (Soprano), Erica Sim (Contralto), Ewen Griffiths (Tenor) and Graham O’Brien (Bass), and conducted by their musical director, Chris Lukies. They are accompanied by James Thomas (Organ) and Lizzie Peacock (Piano).
Rossini is well known for his lively comic operas. The Petite Messe, written 30 years after his last opera, is a serious piece (Solennelle), yet it lacks none of his earlier vivacity, with some of the passages sounding as though they might have come from light opera. The structure of this late masterpiece is that of the Catholic Mass, with major solo parts intertwined with substantial passages for chorus. Compared with Rossini’s operas, this work is not often performed, and this concert gives audiences a rare chance to hear a sacred (but not too solemn) work by Rossini in a glorious Cathedral setting.