OLDHAM Choral Society makes its debut at the Stoller Hall in Manchester on Sunday, April 10 with a top programme of music and soloists, starting at 7pm.
The state-of-the-art concert venue opened in 2017 and the popular Oldham choir was due to sing there in April 2020 but the occasion did not go ahead as the venue was closed for more than 12 months due to the pandemic and the choir’s activities were very limited.
The choir resumed rehearsals in September, already attracting several new members, and this is the third concert since the ‘reformation’.
They will sing a very entertaining programme of choral music by two of the greatest Italian composers of opera – Rossini and Puccini.
Better known for his many operas, the most famous of which is William Tell, Rossini composed his Petite Messe Solennelle long after he had retired from composing music for the theatre.
It is quite a long work, (at around 80 minutes), and is light and frothy in character. It has an unusual accompaniment of piano and harmonium and is an ideal work for the Stoller Hall.
As a short curtain-raiser, the choir will sing the Gloria from Puccini’s Messa di Gloria. Puccini is notable for having written La Boheme, Madam Butterfly and Nessun Dorma, but wrote this short sacred piece when he was a student. Like the Rossini Mass it is joyful and operatic in character and thoroughly Italian.
As always, the choir has engaged a top line-up of soloists. Both female soloists – Yvonne Howard and Kathleen Wilkinson – are alumni of the RNCM who have had long and distinguished operatic careers in the UK and Europe.
They are joined by the Indian tenor Amar Muchhala, who does a lot of work at the Royal Opera House and in Germany and Poland, and Thomas D Hopkinson, who is beginning to establish himself as a top British bass, and who makes his Covent Garden debut this month in Lohengrin.
The accompanists are Duncan Robertson and Roderick Barrand and the conductor is Nigel Wilkinson.
Tickets cost £18 (£10 for students in full-time education) and are available from the Ticket Secretary: 0161 797 3583 or the Stoller Hall Box Office: 0333 130 0967 (2-4pm Tuesday to Thursday) or https://stollerhall.com
Find out more about Oldham Choral Society on their website www.oldhamchoral.org.uk or Facebook page.