I love the Regina Caeli which in Eastertide takes the place of the Angelus, morning noon and night. One of the musical high points of the year for me these last six years has been when – Holy Week past, and the High Mass of Easter just finishing – I stand before the altar while the choir sings the Mascagni Regina Caeli from Cavelleria Rusticana. It sends a shiver down my spine.
But this year it was not to be. We had a beautiful baroque setting of the Mass, Cavalli’s “Missa Concertata”, accompanied by a baroque orchestra, full of haunting oboes, and of course this just was not the right type of orchestra to accompany the full-blooded operatic Regina Caeli by Mascagni.
However, the good news is that I will still get my spine tingler: we will have the Mascagni Regina Caeli on the second Sunday in May when we have our May Festival in honour of Our Lady. (This has its own spine-tingling moment, when the Subdeacon, weighed down with cloth of gold, climbs a long ladder to crown Our Lady of Clemency with a circlet of roses – but that’s a different kind of tingle, more a frisson!).
Meanwhile, we have a fine selection of Regina Caelis lined up for the next four Sundays: next week by Cristobal Morales, then on the 18th, one by Francesco Soriano, and on the last Sunday of April, our Dedication Festival, the Regina Caeli by Antonio Lotti.
“Joy to thee, O Queen of heaven, alleluia”