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Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle cannot decide whether it is an opera or a religious work. It is certainly a mass set to the familiar latin text, but it is neither petite nor remotely solemn so calling it a “little solemn mass” is probably only a ruse to appease the very conservative church of the time. But even then, because of its female singers, it wasn’t performed in a church during Rossini’s lifetime despite his direct appeal to the Pope. 

Most people know Rossini through his many famous operas, most notably The Barber of Seville and William Tell. This petite messe is a similarly operatic work with grand chorusses and a full suite of soloists. The Phoenix performance follows Rossini’s original and preferred arrangement for piano and harmonium, a reed organ where the player pedals the bellows. We don’t have a harmonium but will use a reed organ to mirror Rossini’s directions. His one direction we won’t be following is that it should be performed by men, women and castrati – we had no volunteers for the latter!

Venues are still being finalised and we expect two performances at the theatre at Wentworth Falls School of Arts on 6 May and in Hoskins Uniting Church in Lithgow on 7 May both at 3pm.

Online tickets will be available closer to the date at $40 ($35 concession). Click here for tickets

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We rehearse on Tuesday evenings during the NSW school term from 7pm to 9:30pm at the Phillips Hall, Gardiner Crescent in Blackheath.

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