reviewed by Paula Citron
Messa Per Rossini
Festival de Lanaudière
Composed by 13 Italian composers including Verdi
Conducted by Jean-Marie Zeitouni
Starring Michele Capalbo (soprano), Laura Pudwell (mezzo-soprano), Frédéric Antoun (tenor), Etienne Dupuis (baritone) and Robert Pomakov, bass with the Choeur du Festival, Choeur de Laval and Orchestre du Festival
At the Amphitheatre in Joliette, Quebec
I always shower praise on the annual Festival de Lanaudière because of its inventive and surprising programming.
Take for example, Messa per Rossini, which was composed by Verdi and twelve other Italian composers to commemorate Rossini’s death in 1868, but never performed in their lifetimes. The Lanaudière performance was its Canadian premiere and a completely moving experience. It seemed like a last hurrah for lush, unabashed melody before Wagnerisms and modernisms took over.
The great Quebecois conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni held the thirteen disparate parts of the mass together by keying in on emotion and the deft use of his brilliant articulation. Tenor Frédéric Antoun, mezzo Laura Pudwell and bass Robert Pomakov were their usual superb selves, and while baritone Etienne Dupuis has a lovely sound, it was on the light side. The new surprise was soprano Michele Capalbo who has a thrilling, soaring Verdian voice.
Messa Per Rossini was a performance to remember.
Festival de Lanaudière continues in Joliette, Quebec until Aug. 2.