Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle – 2023


Our Season 2022-2023 came to a terrific conclusion with the performance of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle at the Town Hall on 4th February. Creative Director Robert Dean sent this special message to all of our singers:

Leo’s suggestion that we should perform a joyous piece such as the Rossini Petite Messe to celebrate our first proper concert since the Covid years, was inspired and you all rose magnificently to the challenge. Although the workshop in November had been encouraging, nothing had prepared me for your commitment and energy on the big day.
Wonderful fugues were sung with complete confidence and infectious enthusiasm. Of course it is not just a jolly romp; the intimate a cappella moments were beautifully voiced and the Agnus Dei, aided and abetted by Olivia’s heartfelt singing was searing in its intensity. An audience member was reported to have been overcome with emotion and had tears running down their cheeks (I am assuming for the right reason!) at the end of the concert.
I think we can proudly say that we have “found” a new star in the soprano, Manon Ogwen-Parry. This was, unbelievably her first oratorio performance and it is wonderful and a privilege that Oxford Orpheus can give young singers of such calibre their first performance opportunities.
One should not forget Jacob Harrison’s impressive performance of his aria and to give huge thanks to Joseph Buckmaster for literally saving the show at 16 hours’ notice, singing so reliably and confidently despite his 3 hour drive to Oxford on Saturday morning and not having sung the piece for a year.
We are really grateful too to James Brown who not only accompanied our rehearsal with his usual calm professionalism, but also performed the Preludio organ solo beautifully and expertly.
So the day may have had its problems, all expertly managed by Leo, but we literally delivered and in real style.
I do hope singers will feel enthused enough to sign up for our planned Puccini Messa di Gloria workshop in September, and for our 10th anniversary concert of Brahms’ Requiem in February 2024 – preceded by a workshop on how to sing the piece in January.
Without you all and your love of singing we would not exist and we would not be able to raise money for musically deserving charities. Congratulations and a big thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who took part in our 4th February concert!