Organ and the Opera: Concert Spotlights Unfamiliar Repertoire

March 14, 2014

Opera was a source of national identity and pride in 19th-century Italy. Church organists were even encouraged to bring the sounds of the opera into the sanctuary, where it could be available to all, including those who couldn’t afford an opera ticket.

The unfamiliar but highly enjoyable 19th-century Italian organ repertoire will be featured alongside favorite opera arias of the period in the next monthly Third Thursday with the Italian Baroque Organ concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20, in the Fountain Court of the Memorial Art Gallery.

Organists of the period incorporated the musical style and gestures of operas into their organ pieces, sometimes even directly quoting themes from the most popular operas.  The concert includes extracts from Carlo Fumagalli’s Solemn Mass for organ, based on themes from Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata.

The program also includes arias from Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi, Verdi’s I Lombardi and LaTraviata, and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle. The vocal works will be performed by master’s degree voice students from the Eastman School of Music: sopranos Candice Chung, Joanna Kim, and Liz Lang, and tenor David Tayloe.

Organ works by Bellini, Quirici, and Provesi will be performed by Eastman doctoral students David Baskeyfield, Nathan Davy, and Abigail Rockwood, and master’s degree student Karl Robson.

Admission to the concert is included in Gallery admission, which is half-price on Thursday nights and free to UR student ID holders.

# # #