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Classical Workshop – Rossini

Classical Choral Workshop

Wed 28 June - Sun 2 July  |  5-day workshop  | $375 / $340 concession*

Graham Abbott returns to conduct Rossini’s Petite Messe solennelle

The Petite Messe solennelle (Little solemn mass) was written in 1863 and is arguably one of the most remarkable of all the nineteenth-century choral masterworks. In 2023 we will celebrate 160 years since it was first performed. The style that Rossini uses in his twilight years (this being one of the last works he wrote before his death in 1868) is comparable to the choral music of Haydn, Fauré and Poulenc.

The beautiful melodies in this work are intertwined with the comedic sense of irony that gave Rossini so much of his success with the opera buffa genre. This piece is neither small, nor solemn!

Rossini structured his mass in the tradition of the missa solemnis but added the petite label as a little joke. He wrote on the final page of the manuscript: “Dear Lord, here it is finished, this poor little mass. Have I just written sacred music, or rather, sacrilegious music? I was born for opera buffa, as you know well. Not much technique, a little bit of heart, that’s all.”

Venue: Hobart Town Hall and Federation Concert Hall

Graham Abbott, a conductor wearing black shirt and jacket on stage looking out at audience, smiling
Sepia toned photo of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini

Graham Abbott 

Graham Abbott has been Conductor-in-Residence at the Elder Conservatorium of Music Adelaide, Musical Director of Adelaide Philharmonia Chorus, Associate Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Musical Director of Melbourne Chorale, and in 1997 was Guest Chorus Master of the Chorus of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He has worked with all of Australia’s major orchestras, choirs and opera companies.

Graham conducted Cherubini’s C minor Requiem at the 2019 Festival and Handel’s Four Coronation Anthems in 2022.

“I am delighted to have been invited to return to the Festival of Voices in 2023 to conduct one of my favourite works, Rossini's Petite Messe solennelle. Even though the composer later orchestrated it, we’ll be presenting the original version, scored for choir and soloists with two pianos and harmonium. This extended setting of the Mass is one of Rossini's last works, written decades after he'd retired from opera, but still full of his charm, wit and endless gift for melody.

Rossini called it "the last sin of my old age", and while its title is ironic (it's neither little, nor particularly solemn), it still contains music of enormous power and depth. The great fugues show an unexpected gift for complex counterpoint, while the concluding Agnus Dei is heartbreakingly beautiful. Audiences will be swept away!”

Graham AbbottSeptember 2022

Who should register?

This workshop will be popular with many individuals and small groups, choral society members, church choirs and anyone who enjoys a welcoming inclusive environment. Bring a choral friend and come along to the fulfilling, feel-good rehearsals.  

Workshop Fee

This fee will cover the cost of your vocal score (valued at $50 – non-refundable), festival accreditation, light refreshments, opportunities to network with like-minded choristers and specially negotiated accommodation rates. This is a unique opportunity to work with one of Australia’s leading choral conductors and perform with guest soloists

*A Booking Fee of $3.00 applies, plus a 2.2% Basket Fee which will be calculated at check-out. All bookings are non-refundable. You can find the full Conditions of Sale here.


Accessibility Information

Hobart Town Hall

Getting to the venue 

  • The Hobart Town Hall is at 50 Macquarie St, Hobart TAS 7000 
  • A car park behind the Hobart Town Hall is available for drop offs, accessible from Elizabeth Street. Please see entryway to this carpark here. 
  • 2 accessible parking spaces are available in the Hobart Town Hall carpark, accessible from Elizabeth Street. Please see entryway to this carpark here. 
  • Please follow this link for a virtual tour of the Hobart town Hall. 


Guide Dogs and service animals
are welcome at all FOV events.  


Guide Dogs and service animal facilities: 

  • Water bowls will be available at this event upon request. 


Wheelchair Accessibility: 

  • For wheelchair bookings please contact the festival with specifications and dimensions of the wheelchair and any additional user requirements. 
  • The Hobart Town Hall Ballroom on Level 1 is accessible to wheelchair users via lift on the ground floor, located to the right of the staircase. The lift is also accessible via the rear carpark and requires interaction with an intercom to gain access. This carpark is accessible from Elizabeth Street. Please see entryway to this carpark here 
  • Accessible bathrooms are available on Ground Floor of the Hobart Town Hall only. 

Federation Concert Hall

Getting to the venue 

  • Federation Concert Hall is within Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, 1 Davey Street, Hobart TAS 7000 
  • A drop off zone located at the front of Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, accessible from the far-right lane of Davey Street, just after Evans Street. 
  • Accessible parking spaces are available in the Hotel Grand Chancellor carpark. To access this space, please drive into the drop-off zone and request valet park the car for you. More accessible parking can be found along Davey Street by turning into Dunn Place Carpark, on the right past Campbell Street, or turning into the Mures carpark, on the left past Campbell Street. 
  • Please follow this link for a virtual tour of the Federation Concert Hall Auditorium (titled Federation Plenary Hall). Please note that lighting designs will not be as featured in this tour at Festival of Voices events. 


Assistive Listening: info TBC 


Guide Dogs and service animals are welcome in all FOV event venues.


Wheelchair Accessibility: 

    • For wheelchair bookings please contact the festival with specifications and dimensions of the wheelchair and any additional user requirements. 
    • The Federation Concert Hall stalls are accessible from Ground level and the dress circle is accessible for wheelchair users via the lift at reception. 
    • Accessible bathrooms are available  

COVID – 19 Information

Feeling unwell?
Please do not attend this event if you are feeling unwell. It is in the interest of all to stay at home if you have any flu or COVID-19 symptoms. Please review our COVID-19 Ticketing Terms and Conditions here if you are unable to attend for this reason. 

Face masks:
While face masks are not mandatory at any FOV events, you are more than welcome to choose to wear one. Free medical face masks will be available at this event venue entrance upon request. 

Physical Distancing:
This event is in a non-fixed seated venue. Seating will be positioned with sufficient space between participants. Please be mindful of physically distancing from others when moving through the foyer at the beginning and end of this event. 

Hand hygiene:
Sanitiser will be provided at this venue. Please use thoughtfully. 

Face Masks in 2023

Festival of Voices will continue to monitor the use of face masks and will seek advice from the Tasmanian Department of Health with updates provided to our participants and ticket holders.