Statement by mezzosoprano Annalisa Stroppa who will sing in this year’s Christmas Concert at the Teatro alla Scala.
Broadcast on Rai 1 on 24th December at 10:50 a.m. and 30th December at 9:15 p.m.

My year in music will end on 22 December, singing at Teatro alla Scala in Haydn’s Missa in tempore belli to conclude the Christmas Concert – broadcast on Rai 1 on 24th December at 10:50 a.m. and 30th December at 9:15 p.m. – which will also include Mozart’s Laudate Dominum and more Haydn with the ‘Surprise Symphony’. It is a beautifully refined programme, full of classic splendour, so it is a great honour for me to make my contribution, and to work for the first time under conductor Maestro Pablo Heras-Casado.

Annalisa Stroppa – Photo © Michele Monasta

The title, Missa in tempore belli (Mass in time of war), which can also be seen in Haydn’s autograph score, clearly alludes to the political situation of the Hapsburg Empire in the tumultuous years at the end of the eighteenth century. But Haydn did not stop at the title, and included several new, surprising elements in this Mass, the most famous of which, reflected in the work’s other title, Paukenmesse, for the dramatic use of the timpani, is without doubt the inclusion of military-style musical elements, such as trumpet calls and drum rolls. These create a disturbing, threatening atmosphere, which are a characteristic of this work, but also set the scene and endow the invocation Dona nobis pacem that ends this liturgical piece, with special meaning and power.

How can we remain indifferent to this invocation at the present time either? Once again, art is able to express all the horror of war.”

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