Italien skyline

Friday concert: Italian Grandeur

Our 2021/22 Friday concert series begins with an Italian gem: Gioacchino Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle. A mass that Rossini ironically called “small” and that grew even bigger after his death.

Gioacchino Rossini (1792–1868) is one of the great opera composers. He made his debut at the age of 18 and wrote a total of 39 operas in 19 years. Works such as The Barber of Seville, Otello and Cinderella are in constant rotation at opera houses around the world.

Before turning 40, Rossini retired and spent the rest of his life cooking and hosting musical salons with his wife. He composed only sparingly and mostly smaller commissioned pieces. However, one of them would eventually grow into something larger.

Petite Messe Solennelle was originally written in a smaller setting; two pianos, pedal organ and 12 voices. Rossini banned the performance of a large orchestra during his lifetime. But still, he orchestrated the work himself so that it would be the way he wanted it. And it is this version that will be performed at this concert. We will hear is a captivating work, magnificently performed with orchestra, choir and soloists.


Gioacchino Rossini (1792—1868)
Petite Messe Solennelle (1866—1867)