Stabat Mater
by Gioacchino Rossini

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by Giacomo Puccini

Spring 2014 Concert Notes

Tina Johns Heidrich, Conductor
Joseph Jacovino, Jr., Accompanist
Connecticut Master Chorale Orchestra
Louise Fauteux, Soprano
Juan Andreu, Tenor
Edwin Kotchian, Bass-Baritone

Sunday April 6, 2014 - 3:00pm
Note Our New Venue:
First Congregational Church, Danbury, Connecticut

- Soloists - CD - Concert Photos - Rehearsal Photos -
Gioacchino Rossini

Gioacchino Rossini

Stabat Mater
– Gioacchino Rossini

Rossini's Stabat Mater has found a permanent place in choral repertoire, enjoying the same ecstatic reception as the first performance. Rossini, most commonly known as a composer of "opera buffa" (comic opera) wrote 40 operas by the time he was 37. However he wrote virtually nothing in the last 40 years of his life, with the exception of this work in 1833 (completed in 1842) and his Petite Messe Solennelle in 1864. He engrossed himself over a long period of time in a new range of material which finally found expression in these two splendid compositions. Regarded as "masterpieces", they are considered his most magnificent and expressive compositions, romantic and operatic in the best sense of those words. The Stabat Mater unequivocally reflects Rossini's theatrical inspiration. It incorporates elements of grandeur, drama, and emotion, along with captivating melodies and harmonic touches that quintessentially Italian, making it one of his favorite and most frequently performed works.

Giacomo Puccini

Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele
Secondo Maria Puccini

– Giacomo Puccini

  • Gloria (from Messa di Gloria)
    Puccini wrote his Messa di Gloria in 1876 at the relatively young age of 18 and it represents the fulfillment of his entire musical background. This imposing composition had its first performance in 1880 and it was a resounding success; widely praised by laymen and reacted to emotionally and enthusiastically by the press. The critics found it full of extremely noble ideas, well harmonized, and well developed. The Gloria is the second movement and possesses all of Puccini’s most notable qualities: drama, captivating melodies, and an explosive concluding fugue.
  • O Mio Babbino Caro (from Gianni Schicchi)
    Lauretta, the daughter of Gianni Schicchi, a peasant and immigrant from the countryside, is about to be married to Rinuccio, a nephew of a wealthy aristocrat from Florence who has just died. However, Rinuccio’s Aunt Zita, will not allow this marriage without a dowry. In “O Mio Babbino Caro,” Lauretta sinks to her knees and begins to wheedle her father. She desperately wants to marry Rinuccio, and if their love is in vain she will throw herself into the Arno River. She is tormented, and only wants to die. She begs her papa to have pity on her and to do something so that the marriage can take place.
  • Humming Chorus (from Madama Butterfly)
    U.S. Navy Lt. Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton enters into an arranged marriage with Cio-Cio-San, known as Madama Butterfly. He acknowledges a 999 year marriage contract for both house and bride, however, his true desire is to marry an American girl. After the marriage, Pinkerton returns to the U.S for three years. The “Humming Chorus” is an exquisite chorus in Act II, sung offstage while Butterfly and her little son await Pinkerton’s return.
  • Act I Finale (from Tosca)
    Tosca has become one of the most popular operas ever since its January 14, 1900 premiere. It is a violent drama based on Sardou’s hit play La Tosca, written specifically for the famous French actress Sarah Bernhardt. The action takes place in Rome between noon of June 17, 1800 and dawn of the following day, during which time all of the major characters die violent deaths. In Act I, an escaped prisoner, Cesare Angelotti is hiding in a church with the help of his sister, the Marchesa Attavanti. The painter Mario Cavaradossi has painted a portrait that looks similar to Attavanti. When his lover, opera star Floria Tosca sees the resemblance, she goes into a jealous rage. Baron Scarpia, Chief of Roman Police, further arouses Tosca’s suspicions of her lover’s infidelity and watches her with passionate interest. A crowd begins to gather in the church waiting for the cardinal. During the act’s concluding “Te Deum” sung by the congregation, Scarpia expresses his desire to have Cavaradossi executed and to possess Tosca.