Top quartet to star in Buxton Musical Society’s Italian job

Despite being Verdi’s bicentenary year, Buxton Musical Society has opted for works by two of Italy’s other famous opera composers for its concert later this month.

Although Rossini and Puccini are known primarily for their operatic output, they both turned at different times in their lives to composing sacred works.

Rossini finished his last opera, William Tell, in his mid-30s and then started work on his first significant sacred work, the Stabat Mater. This setting of the meditations of Mary during the crucifixion of her son allowed Rossini to demonstrate the mastery of melody and word-setting he had accumulated whilst writing his 39 operas.

Puccini, on the other hand, had not written a single opera when he composed his Messa di Gloria.

It was written as a graduation piece when he was 21 and is full of youthful exuberance but with clear signs of the potential that was to take him to the top of the opera popularity lists.

Both works have demanding solo lines and the Society welcomes a distinguished quartet to perform them: Rebecca Rudge (Soprano), Sophie Goldrick (Mezzo-Soprano), Andrew MacKenzie-Wicks (Tenor) and Matthew Hargreaves (Bass).

The concert will take place on Sunday March 24 at 7.30pm in St John’s Church, Buxton.

The Messa di Gloria will be conducted by Chapel-en-le-Frith’s Philip Cartledge and the Stabat Mater by well-known local musician Michael Williams. Conducting duties are being shared while Michael recovers from a broken leg.

Tickets, priced £12 (£10.50 concessions), are available from Buxton Opera House on 0845 127 2190, on the door or via the society website buxtonmusicalsociety.org.uk.