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Monday, October 15, 2012


(South African tenor Musa Nkuna. Pic by William Charlton-Perkins)

Rossini’s magnificent Stabat Materis is to be performed in the Durban City Hall on October 21. One of the mid-19th century’s great choral masterworks, this is a rare treat for classical music enthusiasts.

A distinguished quartet of soloists comprising Estelle Kruger (soprano), Viola Zimmermann (mezzo-soprano), Musa Nkuna (tenor) and Luis Rodrigues (baritone) will join forces with the touring University of Fribourg Chamber Choir from Switzerland, the Durban Symphonic Choir and the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Swiss conductor Pascal Mayer, to perform the great Italian composer’s work, which was composed partly in 1833 and completed in 1841.

Rossini’s brilliant score is studded with famous highlights. Not least of these are the thrilling tenor aria, Cujus animam, crowned by a ringing high D flat, the mezzo soprano’s gravely beautiful solo, Fac ut portem, and the blazing Inflammatus et accensus for soprano and chorus – splendid dramatic vocal writing that anticipates Verdi’s renowned Messa da Requiem.

Adding a fresh element of discovery to the afternoon’s listening, the programme, presented by South African International Theatre Productions, will also include a rare performance of Au Passage Du Pré by the noted contemporary Swiss composer Henri Baeriswyl, whose musical language, keenly accessible to today’s audiences, “tends towards a harmonic synthesis between creative freedom and is inspired by the rich palette of emotions endured by the human soul and mastered consciousness during the creative act” (Musinfo- The Database of Swiss Music).

Stabat Materis takes place at 15h00 on October 21. Tickets R100 (R80 pensioners with cards; R65 students with cards and R50 scholars). Block bookings of 10 or more R70. Booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or book online at