The Rossini Young Artists’ Festival 2016

Stabat Mater – his sacred masterpiece, St James’s Piccadilly on 23 June

On the day of the European referendum there will be a concert in London that promises to be a special occasion – one, perhaps, to make us think carefully about our decision in this momentous vote. Whatever the decision taken – in or out – the fact remains that the 100 young musicians gathered for the Rossini 2016 Young Artists’ Festival in London are the product of a united, creative Europe.

This festival, set up by music director Gaetano Lo Coco (a 20 year-old Italian conductor who has been living in London since the age of 7) has brought together young musicians of over 20 different nationalities, all of whom have trained in London’s several prestigious conservatoires, to celebrate Gioachino Rossini. One of the greatest Italian composers, Rossini was a real cosmopolitan, who made Naples, Paris and London his homes and became the first international superstar, as Stendhal would announce in his Life of Rossini: “Napoleon is dead; but a new conqueror has already shown himself to the world. From Moscow to Naples, from London to Vienna, from Paris to Calcutta, his name is constantly on every tongue.”

Rossini was a composer of precocious talent: he was only 23 when he wrote The Barber of Seville (1816), the extraordinary opera buffa whose bicentenary we commemorate this year. Here lies the secret of Rossini 2016: a festival of young, international musicians bringing to life the music of an equally young (and international) composer. The festival involves a series of events in the course of the year: the young musicians got off to a fantastic start in March with Rossini Revealed, a concert of arias and overtures interwoven by anecdotes about the composer, which was acclaimed both by the public and press.

Rossini’s Stabat Mater – his sacred masterpiece – at St James’s Piccadilly on 23 June

40 orchestral musicians, 60 choristers and 4 talented soloists from the National Opera Studio will bring real energy and fervour to the religious subject closest to Rossini’s heart: the suffering of a mother. The Stabat Mater: Commissioned by a Spaniard, written by an Italian, premièred in France, lampooned by the German press, and soon coming to London.