ROME, July 31. /TASS/. Chairman of the External Church Affairs of Moscow’s Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk has conducted an orchestra and a choir at the famous Ravello Festival in Italy. His Eminence directed the performance of two similarly-named pieces for soloists, a choir and an orchestra - the hymn "Stabat Mater" (from the first line "Stabat Mater dolorosa", lit."The sorrowful Mother was standing") by Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi and a hymn of his own composition.
Orchestra Filarmonica Salernitana "Giuseppe Verdi," the Grand Choir "Masters of Choral Singing" (directed by Lev Kontorovich) and soloists Svetlana Kasyan (soprano) and Agunda Kulaeva (mezzo-soprano) took part in the Ravello Festival which was held on Sunday evening, Gregory the Theologian Charity Foundation, that supported the festival, told TASS.
According to the foundation’s CEO Leonid Sevastyanov, the invitation to take part at one of Italy’s most prestigious musical platforms was received from the festival’s management. "We were allowed to choose repertoire ourselves, and we opted for this hymn to show the similarity between the traditions," he said. Sevastyanov noted the star-studded cast participating in the project. "Svetlana Kasyan is a world-class opera singer," the source stressed.
Italian composer and musician Giovanni Battista Pergolesi offered a new vision of the medieval Catholic sequence that was part of the Roman Missal and was performed between the Alleluia and the Gospel reading. It consists of two parts: the description of Virgin Mary’s sufferings before the Cross and a sinner’s prayer for Her patronage. Metropolitan Hilarion created his composition in 2009. He is considered to be the creator of the Russian spiritual oratorio genre which is based on liturgical texts and combines the elements of Russian liturgical singing and musical baroque, as well as the style of Russia’s 20th century composers.
Svetlana Kasyan did not conceal her emotions in a talk with a TASS reporter after the evening’s smashing success. "We had a chance to perform in a wonderful place. It has to be the most beautiful scene here, in Ravello, and singing such deep music in such a place is sheer joy," the singer said. She noted certain complexity in performing such music, especially considering that her repertoire was mainly classical opera.
"The audience here is sophisticated, and the responsibility is greater," she said.
"However, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion is such a talented composer, director and musician that he can unite all in one - the orchestra, the choir and the singers," Kasyan noted, adding that she was preparing to return to the Apennines, as she was to perform the main role in Puccini's "Tosca" at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma. Metropolitan Hilarion is famous for his musical talent both in Russia and abroad. His spiritual compositions were performed numerous times in the Apennines, and even in Vatican City, but this is the first time His Eminence directed abroad.