Sing Napa Valley presents its annual Holiday Concert on Dec. 15 at 3 p.m., featuring Giacomo Puccini’s "Messa di Gloria" and the sung version of "The Nutcracker Suite" by Peter Tchaikovsky, arr. by Harry Simeone.
The Puccini mass was written and first performed in Lucca, Italy in 1880 when Puccini was 18. Titled by Puccini as "Messa a Quattro Voci," it was a success, praised by critics and public, but Puccini filed it away in favor of concentrating on opera composition, and it was not heard again in his lifetime.
Since its publication in 1951, it has been known as the Messa di Gloria and has become an established part of choral repertoire. It includes the usual mass sections: Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Benedictus, and Agnus Dei. The style of the mass is direct and operatic. As a liturgical work written in an overtly operatic style, it is full of color, vitality, and musical surprises such as the many sudden key changes.
The idea of a sung version of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite was conceived by arranger Harry Simeone of the Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians organization. The result is a brightly melodic choral work, which rapidly became one of the most frequently requested numbers on the Waring radio programs.
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Five sections of the original Nutcracker Suite ballet make up the sung version, with the lively “Overture” as a curtain raiser on four scenes from fairyland. The first is the sprightly :”Dance of the Sugar Plums”; then the brilliant, exciting dance “Trepak.” Next is the gay and colorful “Dance of the ‘Toy Flutes.’” The final movement depicts a troupe of flowers…magnolias, lilies, daffodils, and violets…in the merry, swirling “Waltz of the Flowers.”
This holiday concert, directed by Jan Lanterman, will be performed at Napa Methodist Church, 625 Randolph St., Napa. Sing Napa Valley will be joined by Bay Area soloists tenor Mike Desnoyers, baritone Ryan Bradford, and bass William O’Neill. Refreshments will be served at intermission.
Tickets are $30. Visit SingNapaValley.org for more information.