In May 2017 we joined the Sydney Philharmonia Choir’s Festival Chorus to present Rossini’s Stabat Mater, at the amazing and iconic Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, together with a selection of pieces from the Italian masters.
When masters of the stage compose sacred music, they create work as powerfully dramatic as any opera. Gioachino Rossini, best known as a composer of brilliant comedy and moving tragedy, also wrote a handful of choral masterpieces after his early retirement from the theatre. Like his operas, they celebrate the beauty of the human voice, none more so than his Stabat Mater. This medieval poem describing Mary’s contemplation of her son on the cross is a vividly drawn drama in its own right and it has elicited profound musical responses from composers for centuries. Rossini sets the words with exquisite sensitivity to emotion and mood in the manner of his grandest operas, including virtuoso solos and ensembles and overwhelming choruses, sweeping listeners up in a gripping, living narrative.