The sounds of Beethoven in Latin will fill UVic’s Farquhar Auditorium next month.
The Victoria Choral Society, under the baton of Brian Wismath, will present Ludwig van Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at 2 p.m. on Feb. 11, featuring over 120 singers accompanied by members of the Victoria Symphony.
Beethoven’s Catholic “solemn mass” includes five typical mass movements and ends with a prayer for peace. Beethoven wrote Missa Solemnis for a particularly triumphant occasion: the elevation of his piano student, the Hapsburg nobleman Rudolph Rainier, to the religious position of Archbishop of Olomouc (Olmütz). Eventually Beethoven dedicated 14 compositions to Rainier, who was his friend, pupil and patron.
Beethoven’s work has a tie to Victoria. Prince Nikita Sergeyevich Galitzine (1912–2003), is a Russian émigré who lived in Victoria and helped establish Victoria’s St. Sophia Russian Orthodox Church, and donated the Fairfield building which is now its home. One of Prince Nikita’s ancestors – Prince Nikolai Borisovich Galitzine – was a benefactor of Beethoven, and paid in advance for three string quartets. This money allowed Beethoven to complete his Missa Solemnis, which premiered at St. Petersburg under the patronage of Galitzine and the Tsar.
“I have never heard anything so sublime. This whole work is a treasure of beauties; it can be said that your genius has anticipated the centuries,” Prince Galitzine wrote to the composer following the work’s premiere in 1824.
The performance will feature soloists Ingrid Attrot (soprano), Sarah Fryer (mezzo), Thomas Glenn (tenor), and Gary Relyea (bass-baritone).
Hailed as “a singer with uncommon theatrical sensibility and musical intelligence,” Attrot has appeared with major orchestras and opera companies in Europe and North America. Fryer has appeared on concert platforms throughout Europe and in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Singapore. She made her professional debut as mezzo soloist in Mozart’s Requiem in Wells Cathedral at the age of 16. Glenn is a Grammy Award–winning tenor who enjoys a favourable reputation as a creative interpreter of bel canto and classical period literature as well as modern works. Renowned for the richness of his voice and his compelling musical insights, Relyea has performed extensively in opera and has thrilled audiences with orchestras across North America.
Tickets for the Feb. 11 performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis – $35 for adults, $10 for students – are available at the UVic Ticket Centre by calling 250-721-8480 or online at www.auditorium.uvic.ca.