Petite messe solennelle
Rossini as you (don't) know him
The Estates TheatreApproximate running time
1 hour 30 minutes, no intermissionPremiere
June 16, 2021
In the twilight of his eventful life, Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868), the great guru of Italian opera of the first half of the 19th century, completed in Paris a piece precious few would have expected him to write...
In the twilight of his eventful life, Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868), the great guru of Italian opera of the first half of the 19th century, completed in Paris a piece precious few would have expected him to write – a messe solennelle, a setting of the traditional Latin missa solemnis, the type of music other composers created for the holy milieu of Roman Catholic churches.
A true bon vivant, Rossini had not turned into a penitent who prior to death strove to pave his way to heaven and compensate for his previous works, largely dedicated to secular subjects. He approached his mass, most likely commissioned by the wealthy French banker Count Alexis Pillet-Will, with levity, a sense of originality, but also humility. Describing it as “the last of the sins of my old age”, Rossini asked himself the question of whether he had written “sacred”, or, rather, “sacrilegious” music. Oddly enough, his mass is not intended to be performed in churches but in homes. Following on from its being scored for a more intimate milieu is the curious instrumentation – two pianos and a harmonium, not an orchestra, nor an organ … What is more – even though the celebrated opera composer had not created a single opera for over three decades, his quintessential, effervescent Italian style reflected in this otherwise spiritual piece. Aware of the fact, Rossini wrote in his defence: “I was born for opera buffa, as you well know …”
At the special concert of Rossini’s mass, conducted by Jaroslav Kyzlink, you will hear three instrumentalists, the National Theatre Chorus and, first and foremost, soloists – the soprano Marie Fajtová and the bass Jiří Sulženko, who are well known to our audiences, as well as the Icelandic mezzo-soprano Arnheiður Eiríksdóttir, a new member of the opera company, and the internationally renowned tenor Petr Nekoranec, one of the most gifted young Czech opera singers.
Soprano: Marie Fajtová
Contralto: Arnheiður Eiríksdóttir
Tenor: Petr Nekoranec
Bass: Jiří Sulženko
The National Theatre Chorus
Chorus master: Pavel Vaněk
Pianos: Martin Levický and Zdeněk Klauda
Harmonium: Adam Viktora
Conductor: Jaroslav Kyzlink
Where to buy tickets
The National Theatre sells tickets up to 6 months in advance. On 1 February at 9am we started selling tickets for performances of Drama, Ballet, Opera and Laterna magika until the end of July 2023.
What to wear?
By their appearance, attire and behaviour, the audience is obliged to adhere to the accustomed practice expected from them when attending a theatre performance.
Buffets at the Estates Theater
No waiting. For your benefit, please pre-order your food and beverages at the bar to minimize waiting in the queue!
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