Opera Tickets Italy

    Purcell / Saint-Saëns / Poulenc / Fauré

    Purcell / Saint-Saëns / Poulenc / Fauré

    A special concert acknowledges the brevity of human life and the act of paying our respects to people and times bygone. With four emblematic compositions by Henry Purcell, Camille Saint-Saëns, Francis Poulenc and Gabriel Fauré, Teatro Filarmonico in Verona offers a performance with emotional and spiritual depth that is rarely matched in such ensemble shows. Purcell / Saint-Saëns / Poulenc / Fauré is a meditation and a celebration of life in transition.

    Henry Purcell composed special music for the funeral of Queen Mary II of England, which took place on 5 March 1695. Of the extensive composition, which also features some of the Anglican Church’s funeral sentences, the concert features the March and the Canzona, both in the sombre key of C minor. These are also the most popular parts of Purcell’s spectacular homage to the late Queen. They have made their way into popular culture, too: an excerpt from the March is prominently used in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.

    Next comes the Prelude from Le Déluge by Camille Saint-Saëns from 1875. The full work is an oratorio based on the biblical story about Noah’s Arc and the flood that purged the sinful humans off the face of the Earth. The prelude, which introduces the oratorio, does not feature any voices but gives a beautiful, poignant solo spot to the violin. Its heartfelt melodies evoke the fall of man, the imminent retribution, and the faint hope for a new beginning after the punishment is done.

    Francis Poulenc’s Litanies à la Vierge Noire, or Litany to the Black Virgin in English, was the composer’s first piece of sacred music after his rediscovery of his Catholic faith in 1936. Inspired by a pilgrimage to Notre-Dame de Rocamadour, the litany was originally scored for a female choir and organ, but Poulenc rearranged it for a full choir and strings about 10 years later. The modal nature of his litany, rich with chants and no proper endings, imbues the work with a sense of continuity and meditativeness.

    Finally, the Requiem in D minor, Op 48 by Gabriel Fauré closes the programme. First performed in 1888 and revised several times after, it remains the composer’s best-known big project. It finds its origins in the conventional Catholic mass, and the arrangement for vocal soloists, choir, and orchestra lets Fauré’s creative powers show in rich musical tapestries and evocative melodies that touch upon the divine. Thus ends Purcell / Saint-Saëns / Poulenc / Fauré, a concert of sacred music devoted to the ephemeral quality of human life on earth.

    image Teatro Filarmonico Verona / Per gentile concessione Fondazione Arena di Verona / Foto Gilles Alonso