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Vitali Alekseenok: March 29, 2024, 8 pm at the Zubin Mehta Hall

The last symphonic-choral event of the Winter Season will be held on Friday, March 29th2024 at 8pm. On the podium of the Mehta Hall, leading the Maggio Orchestra and Choir, maestro Vitali Alekseenok. 

The program includes compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach and Gioachino Rossini. 

Soloists, Nikoleta Kapetanidou, Aleksandra Meteleva, Dave Monaco and Alessandro Abis.

Florence, March 26th 2024 - On March 29th at 8pm, in the Mehta Hall, maestro Vitali Alekseenok – making his florentine debut - leading the Orchestra and Choir of the Maggio will take the podium for the symphonic-choral concert that closes the Winter Season of Theater. On the program, “Ricercata”, Fugue for 6 voices from Musikalisches Opfer by Johann Sebastian Bach (orchestration by Anton Webern) and the famous Stabat Mater by Gioachino Rossini.

Soloists in Rossini's sacred composition are the soprano Nikoleta Kapetanidou and the tenor Dave Monaco, artists who trained at the Accademia del Maggio, the contralto Aleksandra Meteleva, a talent who currently frequents it, and the bass Alessandro Abis.

The master of the Maggio Choir is Lorenzo Fratini.

Vitali Alekseenok, in his florentine debut, completes the group of four young and luminous conductors that Maggio has decided to place alongside the main conductor Daniele Gatti during the Winter Season: Nikolas Nägele, who conducted Peer Gynt in concert form and Hankyeol Yoon and Min Chung who conducted two choral symphony concerts, all three received with great warmth by the audience of the Mehta Hall, the press and critics. Maestro Alekseenok won the prestigious "Arturo Toscanini Competition for conductors" in Parma in 2021, where he also received the "Audience Award" and the one for the best performance in one act of a Verdi opera (Macbeth). Since November 2022 Alekseenok has been Kapellmeister at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf - Duisburg, where he conducts revivals of Turandot, Tosca, Hänsel und Gretel and Die Zauberflöte, as well as a new production of Le Sacre du Printemps and compositions by Igor Stravinsky and Richard Strauss. He recently made his debut at the Teatro alla Scala with the world premiere of the opera The Little Prince by Pierangelo Valtinoni.

The concert therefore opens with “Ricercata”, Fugue for 6 voices from Musikalisches Opfer BMW 1079 by Johann Sebastian Bach in the orchestration of Anton Webern which almost constitutes an appropriation made by the musician in relation to Bach's music; the peculiar technique of this instrumentation is connected to Webern's compositional technique: the Musikalisches Opfer belongs to the last period of Bach's life, when the author, aware of the out-of-dateness of his choices with respect to the affirmation of the new galant style, always went more focusing one's attention on the potential of contrapuntal science.

The program on the poster is completed with one of Gioachino Rossini's most famous compositions, the Stabat mater. After retiring from theatrical activity, in the winter of 1831 Rossini traveled to Spain where he met the archdeacon Manuel Fernández Varela, to whom he promised a composition of his own as a sign of friendship. Varela didn't have to ask him again and even asked him for a Stabat Mater. After almost a year of commitments and indecisions, with the support of Giuseppe Tadolini, director at the Théâtre Italien in Paris, Rossini gave the archdeacon the large-scale score for a large ensemble with soloists, choir and orchestra, making him promise to keep it without never do it. But, once the prelate died, his heirs put his assets up for auction, Rossini's Stabat Mater included. Frightened by the idea that one day someone might attribute the musical numbers partly composed by Tadolini to him, he protected himself by immediately signing a contract for the publication of the Stabat Mater in a complete version revised by himself, which was performed for the first time in Paris in January 1842. In March it was performed for the first time in Italy, in the Aula Magna of the Archiginnasio in Bologna with Gaetano Donizetti conducting.

The concert

Johann Sebastian Bach/Anton Webern - From Musikalisches Opfer BMW 1079: Ricercata, fugue 6 voices
In 1747, during a stay at the court of Frederick the Great, Johann Sebastian Bach conceived a series of pieces based on a theme proposed by the sovereign himself which he would later collect in a work dedicated to the king entitled Musikalisches Opfer (Musical Offering). Pieces different in form (canons, cercaria, a fugue and a sonata) but united by the rigorous use of the contrapuntal technique and the freedom of the instrumental guise (with the exception of the single Sonata for flute, violin and continuous bass). Almost two centuries later Anton Webern, who had a great devotion for Bach, decided to transcribe for orchestra the Ricercare for six voices, the most complex piece of the Musikalisches Opfer for polyphonic intertwining, publishing his own version in 1935 with the title of Ricercata (fugue for 6 voices). The fact that Bach had not indicated a precise composition pushed Webern to work on timbral experimentation. In his transcription the author does not transform the original form of the Bach piece but decides to break down the six voices of the Ricercare between the various sections of the orchestra, creating a multifaceted sound game in which the melodic lines undergo continuous fragmentation passing from instrument to instrument.

Gioachino Rossini - Stabat Mater
In 1829, after the success of Guillame Tell, Rossini decided to definitively retire from the stage. However, in 1831 the Spanish prelate Don Manuel Fernández Varela, who welcomed the Pesarese with full honors during his visit to Madrid, asked him to compose a Stabat Mater and Rossini, despite initial reluctance, accepted. Like many other great composers before him, he decided to measure himself with the ancient Latin liturgical sequence - attributed to Jacopone da Todi - which describes the pain of the Virgin Mary crying at the feet of her crucified son. Back in Paris he set to music the first of the twenty tercets of the text and the eleven final tercets, distributed over five numbers, later interrupting due to health problems. He then asked his friend and fellow student Giuseppe Tadolini to complete the missing parts, and on 29 March 1832 he sent the finished score to Madrid. However, Rossini could not imagine that upon Varela's death his heirs would decide to sell the Stabat Mater to a publisher, and so, to prevent only part of his work from being put into circulation, in 1841 he was forced to block its publication. and to revisit the score by writing the pieces not completed ten years earlier. Rossini's publisher organized the first performance of the Stabat Mater in Paris at the Théâtre Italien. After many years of compositional silence, the anticipation was great and the debut on 7 January 1842 was greeted with triumphal success. Although ten years had passed, the new parts integrated perfectly into the original structure and without any stylistic fracture. In March of the same year the work was performed in Bologna and in many other Italian and European cities with unanimous approval from the public and critics, with a few rare exceptions. In fact, there were those who pointed the finger at the worldly aspect of some numbers of the opera in which Rossini's writing appears markedly theatrical. In the ten sections into which the Stabat Mater is divided, Rossini fully exploits the expressive possibilities of the voices of the soloists and the choir, skilfully using a rigorous and composed writing of liturgical tradition, as for example in the Introduction (n. 1), in Bass and choir recitative (no. 5) and in the mystical a cappella quartet of the choir (no. 19), as well as melodramatic writing, in the sections entrusted to the soloists, which seduces the listener's ear in the numerous bel canto passages.