Stabat Mater by Rossini

Once he had retired from the tumultuous life of a successful opera composer, on a journey to Spain in 1831, Gioachino Rossini was called upon by the prelate Varela to compose a Stabat Mater. Stricken by back pain, the Swan of Pesaro did not manage to finish the partition within the ascribed deadline and it was another composer Giovanni Tadolini, today forgotten, who completed the work. It was only performed once, in Madrid in 1833. After much complication related to publishing of the score, Rossini decided to actually compose the parts his hand had not written. The work finally earned a triumphant performance at the Théâtre des Italiens in Paris in January 1842, by the most prestigious soloists, loyal to the composer’s bel canto.

Gaetano Donizetti gave the first performance in Italy at the Liceo Musicale in Bologna. The composer, who had studied in the city and had been the director of its school of music, was acclaimed by more than 500 admirers who carried him home in triumph and remained outside beneath his windows until late at night. Whilst the Stabat Mater uses the most expert of techniques in counterpoint and fugal writing, it is also the reflection of an operatic specialist who handled the vocal art of bel canto like no other. Polymorphic, the Stabat Mater did justice to its long gestation.

Orchestra and Choirs : Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège