Vote for Rossini on Referendum Day! 100 international musicians will perform Stabat Mater at St James’s Piccadilly
By James Brewer
UK Referendum Day, June 23 2016, will for an audience at one of London’s great historical churches touch a chord more profound than the political decision in question.
St James’s Church Piccadilly will echo on that red-letter day to the orchestral and choral harmonies of the flower of youth of many nations, in a grand performance of Rossini’s Stabat Mater.
In the heart of the capital a glorious example of European and international unity at its best will be touchingly accomplished. One hundred young and gifted musicians from across the world will bring to life the joy and anguish within the work of one of the greatest Italian composers.
The concert, starting at 19.30 is the second part of a three-event festival celebrating 200 years since the advent of Rossini’s best known work, The Barber of Seville.
What is promised as “a unique and extraordinary interpretation” of the religious masterpiece is part of a music-making project around the Rossini Young Artists’ Festival 2016 by music director and conductor Gaetano Lo Coco. He is passionate about channelling the enthusiasm and talent of young musicians into projects that connect with both regular concert-goers and those who are ready to broaden their knowledge of the classics.
Gaetano himself is just 20 years old, but his mastery of full orchestras and complex scores is already drawing much praise.. He is bringing together a line-up for June 23 of 40 orchestral players, 60 choristers and four up-and-coming soloists from the National Opera Studio. He said: “On the very day of the European referendum, there will be a concert in London that promises to be a special occasion – one, perhaps, to make us think carefully about our decision in this momentous vote.
“It may be appropriate that on this very date, our concert should celebrate London as the cosmopolitan hub it is.
“Whatever the decision taken – In or Out – the fact remains that the 100 young musicians gathered for the Rossini 2016 Young Artists’ Festival in London are the product of a united, creative Europe. The musicians are from more than 20 nationalities and have all trained in London’s prestigious conservatoires.”
The roof of the Wren church, the foundation stone for which was laid in 1676 for a wealthy congregation, was hit by incendiary bombs in 1940 but later restored. The elegant interior will resound with the compelling depiction in operatic genre of the religious subject closest to Rossini’s heart: the suffering of a mother personified by the grief of Mary for her crucified Son, a narrative of affliction but also with its uplifting aspect.
Gaetano, who has lived most of his life in London, characterises Rossini as a great “entrance point” to the appreciation of opera because he brings so much joy and energy to the concert hall and stage.
He said that while being one of the greatest Italian composers, Rossini (1792-1868) was a real cosmopolitan, making Naples, Paris and London his homes to become what some say was the first international superstar. His visit to London was in 1823, and there he conducted and in concerts with his wife the diva Isabella Colbran. His reputation was already such that he was introduced to King George IV.
Stendhal wrote in his Life of Rossini: “Napoleon is dead; but a new conqueror has already shown himself to the world. From Moscow to Naples, from London to Vienna, from Paris to Calcutta, his name is constantly on every tongue.”
Rossini was born in Pesaro, a coastal town in the Marche region which maintains his birthplace as a museum exhibiting the spinet he played and much else from his lifetime.
He is an ideal composer for a 21st century youth orchestra to honour, for he displayed precocious talent, writing the opera buffa The Barber of Seville at the age of 23
The current festival was launched in March with an acclaimed programme under the title Rossini Revealed, a concert of arias and overtures interwoven with anecdotes about the composer.
Soloists on June 23 for Stabat Mater will be He Wu (from China) soprano; and three UK singers, Chloë Treharne mezzo-soprano; Joseph Doody tenor; and Dingle Yandell bass.
The evening will begin with Rossini’s Overture to Semiramide, an opera in two acts first performed in 1823.
Music director Gaetano said of the festival venture: “It is a great opportunity for the young musicians, and for the audiences who receive this energy that they are desperate to transmit.”
Tickets: £20 (concessions available), are available via www.ticketsource.co.uk/