Berkshire Choral Festival

Rossini and Puccini

Concert: June 7 at Knowles Memorial Chapel, Rollins College
Conductor: Dr. John V. Sinclair
Symphony: Bach Festival Orchestra

The Bach Festival Orchestra comprises musicians from across Central Florida. Many teach privately or at colleges and universities in addition to their professional engagements.

Rossini: Stabat Mater

While Rossini had no particular religious convictions, he composed sacred music throughout his career. His setting of the Stabat Mater, the 13th-century Latin poem about the Virgin Mary’s anguish at Golgotha, is considered his masterpiece in that realm. Written late in his career, indeed after his retirement from composing for opera, it was completed in 1841 only after a decade of legal and other wrangling. It was performed in its complete form for the first time in 1842, in Paris, to great acclaim.

Puccini: Messa di Gloria

Although this piece is widely known as a Messa di Gloria, it is a full Mass for orchestra and four-part choir with tenor, bass, and baritone soloists. Puccini composed it as a young man, for his graduation from the Istituto Musicale Pacini in 1880. It was performed for the first time that July. Puccini never published the full manuscript, though, and Messa was not heard again until 1952, in Chicago. Some of its themes could be heard in subsequent works, however, including Manon Lescaut and Edgar.