Sir Antonio Pappano conducts Ponchielli, Verdi, and Puccini – With Benjamin Bernheim and Gerald Finley

London Symphony Orchestra

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Benjamin Bernheim — Tenor

Gerald Finley — Bass

London Symphony Chorus

Simon Halsey — Chorus director

London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Antonio Pappano — Conductor

Program notes

Sir Antonio Pappano leads the London Symphony Orchestra in a gripping program of late Italian Romanticism sure to mesmerize the audience of London's prestigious Barbican Hall. Works by Ponchielli and Verdi lead into Puccini’s sumptuous Messa di Gloria, one of the young composer’s early masterpieces. "The major French lyric tenor the opera world is longing for," Benjamin Bernheim and award-winning Canadian bass baritone Gerald Finley join Pappano and the LSO for Puccini’s Messa.

The concert opens with the powerful and incisive Elegia per grande orchestra by Amilcare Ponchielli. Best known today for his opera La Gioconda, Ponchielli was one of the key figures of the Italian music scene and counted Puccini among his students. His contemporary Giuseppe Verdi’s String Quartet in E Minor follows in its version for string orchestra: the acrobatic and dynamic work is the only surviving chamber music piece in the composer’s catalogue, but is frequently performed in this enlarged instrumentation. A brilliant star of the next generation of Italian composers, Puccini composed his Messa di Gloria when he was only 22 years old. A choral work of operatic proportions, the Messa testifies to Puccini’s boundless imagination and precocious talent for musical storytelling.  

Photo: Sir Antonio Pappano © Musacchio & Ianniello

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