The Petite messe at the Teatro Rossini and in Piazza del Popolo

19 August 2014

The Petite messe solennelle in the version for soloists, chorus and orchestra, in the critical edition recently prepared by Davide Daolmi for the Fondazione Rossini, will be performed at the Teatro Rossini at 8.30 p.m. on Thursday 21 August.

The concert will be transmitted live in video-projection to Piazza del Popolo, in collaboration with the Pesaro Town Council and with the contribution from Arca spa.  This will be the second video-projection realized by the Rof 2014, after the touching and greatly applauded one of the 1984 Il viaggio a Reims.

The Mass will be conducted by Alberto Zedda, with the Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale, Bologna.  The four soloists are Olga Senderskaya (soprano), Veronica Simeoni (mezzosoprano), Dmitry Korchak (tenor) and Mirco Palazzi (bass).

Composed in 1863 for twelve singers (four soloists who join in with a chorus of eight singers), two pianos and a harmonium, the Petite messe solennelle was performed for the first time on the 14 March 1864 at the home of Countess Louise Pillet-Will, to whom it is dedicated.

In a post-script to the autograph score, Rossini writes: “Dear Lord – Here at last I have come to the end of this poor little Mass.  Is this really sacred music that I have just written or is it scary music?  I was born for comic opera, you know that!  A bit of science and a bit of heart, that’s all there is.  Be kind to me, therefore, and grant me Paradise.”

Before he died, Rossini decided to orchestrate the Little Mass for full orchestra.  In the new symphonic version the whole chorus would undertake the Tutti, leaving the solo parts to the four principal singers – soprano, contralto, tenor and bass.