Scarcely a month after the season celebrating the birth of Christ, Musica Angelica will take music lovers on a journey to the end of Christ’s life when it presents Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater on Saturday, January 28 at 8 p.m. at AT&T Center Theatre in Los Angeles and on Sunday, January 29 at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Santa Monica.
Stabat Mater, which translates as “the Mother was standing,” is a musical depiction of the suffering of the Virgin Mary as she witnesses her son’s death on the cross. But, despite the sorrowful nature of the work – “Does it not cause tears to fall?” asked a reviewer in 1778 – Stabat Mater soon became the most popular piece of sacred music ever written, says Musica Angelica’s Music Director, Martin Haselböck.
“Pergolesi’s early death in his mid-20s did not stop the enormous success of this wonderful piece of vocal music,” continues Haselböck whose “affinity for early music and feeling for religious moments in music” were hailed by Krone Wien after he conducted a performance last month of Bach’s B-Minor Mass and Christmas Oratorio by Wiener Akademie.
“Even Bach wanted to have it performed at his church in Leipzig,” Haselböck relates. “The text of the Latin original, however, would have been unacceptable for Bach’s Lutheran congregation, so Bach put the text of a German psalm under the original music, changed a few notes, and so brought Pergolesi's masterwork to his native Germany.”
Joining Musica Angelica for the performances of Bach’s version of the Stabat Mater are soprano Dame Emma Kirkby, one of the world’s most celebrated early music specialists, and countertenor Daniel Taylor. The program will also include songs and arias by J.S. Bach as well as arias and duets from George Frideric Handel’s oratorio, Solomon and Theodora.
“The extraordinary voices of Emma Kirkby and Daniel Taylor will shine in all their beauty," Haselböck promises.
Musica Angelica is especially grateful for the generous sponsorship received from Classical KUSC and Harold and Penny Ray in support of these concerts. Tickets for Stabat Mater are reasonably priced, ranging from $29 to $49/person, with seniors receiving a 10% discount ($26 to $44) and students a special price of only $15 with valid identification. In addition, members of KUSC and SCEMS receive $10 off single ticket prices. Subscription discounts are also available, with first time subscribers receiving 30% off their subscription. For more information, to purchase a subscription, or to order tickets, visit www.musicaangelica.org or call 310.458.4504.
AT&T Center Theatre is located at 1150 South Olive Street in Los Angeles, 90015.
First Presbyterian Church is located at 1220 2nd Street in Santa Monica, 90402.