Soprano Katherine Jolly — who grew up in Davis and again is making this community her home — will appear with the Sacramento Choral Society at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, 1017 11th St. in Sacramento.
On the program will be Antonio Vivaldi’s popular setting of the “Gloria” (RV 589), dating from around 1715. At the time, Vivaldi was associated with the choir of the Ospedale della Pietà, an orphanage for girls (or more probably a home, generously endowed by the girls’ “anonymous” fathers, for the illegitimate daughters of Venetian noblemen and their mistresses). The Ospedale prided itself on the quality of its musical education and the excellence of its choir and orchestra.
Vivaldi, a priest, music teacher and virtuoso violinist, composed many sacred works for the Ospedale, where he spent most of his career, as well as hundreds of instrumental concertos to be played by the girls’ orchestra. This sunny setting of the Gloria, his most famous choral piece, presents the traditional text from the Latin Mass in 12 varied cantata-like sections.
Jolly recalled, “I sang it in Italy in 1990, in a cathedral. And I haven’t done it in years. So it will be nice to sing it again now, with my grown-up voice.”
While Vivaldi wrote the piece for a female chorus and soloists, it is now commonly done by choirs with both male and female singers. Conductor Donald Kendrick of the Sacramento Choral Society said, “I’ve sometimes even assigned some of the alto solos to a tenor, and it works perfectly well.” But on Sunday, those parts will be sung by mezzo Julia Ann Miller, and Jolly and Miller will be backed by a large choir of male and female voices.
Admirers of the Vivaldi Gloria will have a second chance to hear the piece in about two months: American Bach Soloists will perform the Vivaldi Gloria on Dec. 16 at the Mondavi Center, featuring all-female vocalists, including the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
Also on the program will be Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, dating from the late 1880s. “Where the Vivaldi calls for a lot of crisp Baroque articulation, the Fauré (written more than a century later than the Vivaldi) has a lot of harmonies that are more lush and romantic,” Jolly said. “I will be singing the ‘Pie Jesu,’ which is so beautiful and emotional. I don’t think you can hear it with a dry eye. And it will be wonderful to sing it in the cathedral in Sacramento.”
Kendrick agreed that “The ‘Pie Jesu’ is the centerpiece, the symmetrical balance of the Fauré Requiem. And Katherine Jolly sings it beautifully.”
Kendrick noted that Jolly sang in some of his Sacramento choirs when she was in high school. She also was a member of the Davis High School Madrigals in those days.
“Our mezzo, Julia Ann Miller, and our baritone, Daniel Yoder, came through Sacramento State,” Kendrick said; he is a longtime faculty member.
“It is wonderful to be working with Don Kendrick again; he is one of my biggest mentors,” Jolly said. “He has such positive energy.”
Joining in the performance will be Ryan Enright (organ), Ruth Stuart (oboe) and Michael Meeks (trumpet).
Tickets are $35 reserved, $25 general, $12.50 for students, available at www.sacramentochoral.com or 916-536-9065.
— Reach Jeff Hudson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8055.