Choral Society Auditions for Rossini Mass

An April 8 performance of “Petite Messe Solennelle”

The Choral Society of the Hamptons will hold auditions for an April 8 performance of Rossini’s “Petite Messe Solennelle” during the evening of Feb. 12 at the East Hampton Presbyterian Church. Interested singers can make an appointment by calling 631-204-9402 or emailing execdir@choralsocietyofthehamptons.org. 

Written in 1863, more than 30 years after Rossini had retired from composing operas, the Mass is structured in several extended movements in the tradition of the missa solemnis, or solemn Mass, but calling it “petite” suggests a twinkle in Rossini’s eye. 

At the end of the score, Rossini wrote, “Dear Lord, here it is finished, this poor little Mass. Have I just written sacred music, or rather, sacrilegious music? I was born for opera buffa, as you well know. Not much technique, a little bit of heart, that’s all. Blessings to you and grant me Paradise.”

Reviewing a 2010 performance in New York City, Allan Kozinn noted in The New York Times that while in some sections “the piece offers the solemnity promised in its title,” others were lively with “choral bounciness.”

Rehearsals, which will generally be held on Monday evenings from 7 to 9:30, and the April 8 performance will take place at the church.