IT might seem a strange thing to point out, but the first choir to sing Vivaldi’s Gloria! in the 18th century apparently did so behind bars!
Honley Ladies Choir know all about that performance, but won’t be repeating it!
They are quick to point out that when they perform this classic piece as part of an event at Holmfirth Parish Church tomorrow night (May 21, 7.30pm) they will be in full voice – and in full view. And not a bar to be seen.
Vivaldi’s choir was drawn from the girls of the Ospedale della Pietà, a Venetian orphanage where the composer was music master.
The orphanage’s choir was famed for "all the gracefulness and precision imaginable" and for its modesty.
That’s why the girls were hidden behind bars, or grilles.
Such was the choir’s reputation that some parents tried to get their daughters in by passing them off as orphans!
That little bit of history has delighted the ladies and fired them up for tomorrow’s concert which is deliciously titled, Classics and Cake.
“We shall try to emulate the gracefulness and precision of those girls”, said Emily Reaves, the Honley choir’s musical director.
“But thankfully our ladies won’t be behind bars. Our ladies sing well and bake a very good cake; I’m sure the audience will be eager to sample both.”
Emily and well-known local soprano Stephanie Ball will accompany the choir in this rarely heard all-female version of Gloria!
They will also perform as soloists in the remainder of the concert which includes music by Fauré, Mozart, and more modern composers such as John Rutter, Howard Goodall and Bob Chilcott.
Tickets are £8.00/ £6.00 concessions on the door.