Serenade to Music

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Fleur de Bray soprano
Kate Symonds-Joy mezzo
Julian Henao Gonzalez tenor
Ed Ballard baritone
New London Sinfonia
David Gibson conductor

Southampton Philharmonic Choir and Southampton University Philharmonic Choir return to the stage for the first time since 14 March 2020 and are delighted to be back at O2 Guildhall Southampton, joined by a terrific line-up of soloists and the New London Sinfonia, and conducted by David Gibson.

We open our concert with Mendelssohn’s famous Hebrides Overture ('Fingal's Cave'). This standalone composition, inspired by his 1829 visit to Staffa in the Hebrides, evokes the solitude and rolling seas at Fingal's Cave. Written in 1830 and revised in 1832, it was always intended as a concert overture, not as the opening to an opera.

The Serenade to Music is one of Vaughan Williams’ most beautiful occasional pieces. The words are taken from Act V, Scene I of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Originally written for sixteen soloists and orchestra, the piece was first performed on 5 October 1938 and was composed for, and dedicated to, Sir Henry Wood on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee as a conductor. Programming a piece with sixteen soloists presents certain logistical difficulties, and it was not long before Vaughan Williams created (more practical!) alternative arrangements – including the one to be performed here.

After the interval, immerse yourself in Rossini's highly operatic Stabat Mater – his setting of the traditional 13th century Christian hymn depicting Mary's suffering at the cruxifiction of her son. The first public performance was in 1842 although the piece was originally composed following a visit to Madrid in 1831, and commissioned by a Spanish prelate. Rossini initially produced the work with the assistance of the composer Tadolini but would not let it be published. On the death of the prelate, the manuscript was sold and eventually ended up back with Rossini, who made considerable revisions before the first performance.

Tickets are available online.
Tickets: £13.05, £19.65, £25.15 (with concessions). Concessions apply to the disabled, carers accompanying the disabled, job-seekers, students and children. There is also a modest reduction for the over 65s. There is an additional handling fee per transaction of £2.75. Tickets bought online are issued as e-tickets so there is no delivery charge.

The O2 Guildhall Southampton Box Office will be open for telephone bookings on Wednesdays, 10.00am to 5.00pm, and on Fridays, 10.00am to 1.00pm. Tel 023 8063 2601. In person bookings can be made but must be arranged in advance by first calling this number.

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