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Jewels of the Baroque with Celeste Lazarenko and Helen Sherman.

Two dear friends of AHE, and two of the most brilliant exponents of both early and contemporary singing techniques, collaborate on a ravishing program of familiar and neglected gems, including Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater.

His untimely death at 26 caused Pergolesi to become the stuff of legend for centuries. So affecting are the opening minutes of his Stabat Mater that it’s easy to imagine that the composer was put on earth to write them just before being whisked off to heaven. Rousseau described this achingly beautiful interplay between soprano and mezzo as “ the most perfect and touching duet to come from the pen of any composer”.

The entire 40-minute mini-oratorio, while a product of the Baroque (Bach himself paid it homage) is written in the Italian ‘“galant’” style that had its final flowering in Haydn and Mozart, so this is a rare opportunity to hear it as the composer imagined it.

The other items in the program, by a certain Johann Adolf Hasse, are worthy of the exalted company. Long-lived, and with opus numbers dwarfing those of Pergolesi, he was the most lauded operatic composer of his day, completing about 70 operas and writing hit arias for castrato superstar Farinelli, and the composer’s equally famous wife, mezzo soprano Faustina Bordoni. Posthumous fame eluded him, although these handsome excerpts from some of his dramatic sacred works will convince you of its unfairness.

A spectacular evening guaranteed to levitate your soul and the hairs on your neck.

The performances are gorgeous…

Limelight, Sacro Amor, 2021

  • Hasse
    Selections from Oratorio Sanctus Petrus et Sancta Maria Magdalena and Motet Alta Nubes Illustrata
    Selections from Concerto No. 1 in F minor
    Stabat Mater

  • Celeste Lazarenko
    Helen Sherman
    Mezzo soprano
    The Australian Haydn Ensemble