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Famed for his comic operas, the Italian composer Gioachino Rossini retired from the art form by 1829, and by 1842, he appeared to have given up composition altogether. However, a move to the infinitely inspiring Paris in the 1850s led to a late flowering that culminated in his last large-scale work, ironically named the Petite Messe solennelle (1863). Neither petite nor solemn, Rossini dedicated it both to two close friends and to God, whom he hoped would enjoy it enough to ‘grant me paradise’.

Rossini’s wry description of the mass as the last of his ‘little sins of old age’ was far too modest. This is a monumental work, full of drama and heartfelt emotion. The composer’s capacity for writing for voice shines throughout, from the ravishing solos and duets to the grand and fervent choruses.

In this gripping International Festival performance, bass-baritone and voice professor Thomas Quasthoff conducts 12 gifted students – the same number who sang in the 1864 premiere. The singers will be selected via an open audition process, as part of the International Festival's commitment to nurturing emerging talent.

Presented by Edinburgh International Festival


Thomas Quasthoff Director / Conductor

Rossini Petite Messe solennelle

Exploring Rossini with Thomas Quasthoff

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