Messa di Gloria
Eleonora Buratto (soprano), Teresa Iervolino (mezzo-soprano), Lawrence Brownlee, Michael Spyres (tenor), Carlo Lepore (bass); Chorus and Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Antonio Pappano
Warner Classics 5419723452 61:10 mins
Rossini’s Messa di Gloria is something of a historical oddity. A mass written in the midst of a spate of operas, it was dismissed as too operatic for church by contemporary commentators and still seems to fall between the two genres, its outings rare. But it is such an infectiously joyous work, filled with grand yet deft orchestral writing and frothing virtuosity for the soloists. The opening lines of the Kyrie start as the mass means to go on, a chunk of effortlessly operatic Rossini, brilliantly sculpted here by Antonio Pappano and the combined choral and orchestral forces of the Accademia Nazionale de Santa Cecilia who exuberantly inhabit a work that seems determined to throw a wild, operatic flourish up to the heavens, whilst sidestepping the more structured and darker trammels of church liturgy. This, after all, is a mass of glory, not of atonement.
There is superb work from the excellent line-up of soloists, whether soprano Eleonora Burrato nimbly flitting over the coloratura of the ‘Laudamus te’, or the panache of the two American tenors, Lawrence Brownlee and Michael Spyres, and the sheer chutzpah of the bravura aria, ‘Qui tollis peccata mundi’. It all finishes with a grand and terribly sensible fugue which Rossini didn’t write – or perhaps ran a light pen over – but outsourced to another composer as a sobering cap on all that sheer, uplifting Rossinian energy.
Sarah Urwin Jones