9 November 2019

Petite Messe Solennelle by composer Gioachino Rossini was originally composed for eight singers, four soloists, two pianos and a harmonium. This production will be performed by the Alumni Voices chamber choir, 23 singers, four soloists, a piano and an organ.

Rossini is remembered primarily for his immense contribution to the Italian operatic repertoire. He also produced two important pieces of sacred music (the Stabat Mater and the Petite Messe Solennelle) which are notable, amongst other things, for their overtly operatic style. What is original about Rossini’s sacred music is not so much its dramatic power, impressive though that is, as its unashamed Romanticism and humour. The work’s title is misleading, since the Petite Messe Solennelle is not unduly solemn and only ‘little’ in an affectionate sense. Despite the religious text it is unmistakably operatic in style, in common with the Stabat Mater of twenty years earlier. The music ranges from hushed intensity to boisterous high spirits, and abounds in the memorable tunes and rhythmic vitality for which Rossini became justly famous. At the end of the autograph score Rossini wrote: “Dear God. Here it is, finished, this poor little Mass. Have I written sacred music [musique sacrée] or damned music [sacrée musique]? I was born for comic opera, as you well know! Little science, some heart, that’s all. So may you be blessed, and grant me a place in Paradise!”

The artists for this production will include Anina Wasserman (soprano), Erika Pretorius (mezzo-soprano), Stéfan Louw (tenor) and Hendré van Zyl (bass) with Alumni Voices chamber choir accompanied by Johan Cromhout and Brigitte Botha. The director is Leona Geldenhuys.


  • R130 (adults)
  • *R70 (pensioners)
  • *R70 (UFS staff)
  • *R50 (students, learners and block bookings of 10+)

Tickets available at Computicket or online at

*Please note that tickets for pensioners, students, learners and UFS staff can only be purchased at a Computicket outlet (Shoprite Checkers) or at the doors since a valid card or ID has to be presented to qualify for the above mentioned discount.

Ninette Pretorius (tel +27 51 401 2504)

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