The Virgin Mary's anguish and pain watching her son die has been transformed into music and will have it's international premier in Sydney on Friday.
The medieval poem Stabat Mater - a meditation on Mary's suffering of unknown origin and age - has been set to music before by over 400 composers.
But this collaboration, written in Baroque style, will see one of the world's leading counter tenors, Andreas Scholl, perform Marco Rosano's Stabat Mater with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports, the pair met at a dinner party and bonded over a shared obsession with composition and recording technology. They met just once a month to work on the piece, when Scholl went to Belgium to visit his young daughter.
"Over five years of visits, Rosano honed the piece to suit Scholl's falsetto voice. Its repetitive chanting and baroque melodies have deep historical roots, but the words are a timeless expression of a bereaved mother's grief.
"The story of Mary as she watches Jesus on the cross is an old one, but at the same time it's not so far from now," Rosano said,
"For us the important thing was to respect the emotion inside the words. Sometimes the text needs harsher music, and sometimes the notes need to be softer and sweeter. But Andreas's voice helps keep it together," he said.
With a range higher than some female sopranos, Scholl makes an unusual Virgin Mary. However, Scholl finds it natural to sing high notes.
Rosano, who has worked with classical singers before, chose to write Stabat Mater in the baroque style to give the ancient words a contemporary resonance.
Andreas Scholl will perform with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place, from Friday.
A First for Sydney (SMH 19/02/08)