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Rossini’s Stabat Mater: The Second Time’s the Charm
Evening Program with Live Performance
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 7:00 p.m.
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Painting (detail) of the pietà by unknown artist of the 17th cent. (Basilica of San Marco, Rome)
Gioachino Rossini’s rise to the top of Europe’s opera scene was swift. Having composed nearly 40 operas in 20 years including The Barber of Seville, Otello, La Cenerentola, and Guillaume Tell, he had a healthy dose of devoted fans and fierce critics. In fact, the first edition of his Stabat Mater wasn’t even fully composed by him, with bitter lawsuits ensuing in the years following its first, and perhaps only, performance. Ten years later, Richard Wagner attempted to sabotage the 1842 premiere of Rossini’s second, and definitive, Stabat Mater with scathing commentary published under a pseudonym. But this setting of a 13th-century Latin hymn concerning the Virgin Mary’s death watch—filled with the intensity that Rossini brought to his operas—was performed no less than 29 times in its first year and was a magnificent success.
Scott Tucker, artistic director of the Choral Arts Society of Washington, explores the musical structure, text, various versions, and cultural history of this beloved work. Recordings and a live performance by members of the Choral Arts Chorus provide musical context.
Now in its 52nd year, the chorus, a symphonic ensemble featuring nearly 200 singers, performs Rossini’s Stabat Mater at the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall on Saturday, May 19 at 3 p.m. Program registrants receive a discount code for that performance.
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