A DOUBLE bill of Mozart and Michael Haydn (Joseph's equally talented brother) is the centrepiece of Furness Bach Choir's first performance with new musical director Marco Bellasi.

The prizewinning Italian conductor - who first started singing as a chorister in the Cathedral Choir of the Duomo in Milan - picks up the baton for FBC at Ulverston's St Mary’s RC Church, on Saturday, December 2 (7.30pm).

Marco has worked with orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Manchester Camerata and has sung on numerous occasions as a baritone soloist and in chamber groups. He has worked with the Royal Northern College of Music Orchestra and the Hallé, and before taking his masters degree at RNCM, graduated in conducting at the Milan Conservatoire in 2007. He is also a professional violinist.

From 2011-2016 Marco was musical director of the Pennine Singers Chamber Choir at Glossop, and conducted RNCM Chamber Choir on a project in 2016 that culminated in concerts at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall.

Saturday's concert sees FBC perform Mozart's Thamos, King of Egypt and Michael Haydn's Requiem, two thrilling and emotionally charged works for choir and orchestra.

Mozart wrote the music to accompany the historical drama by Tobias Philipp von Gebler in the late 1700s. Thrillingly dramatic, the music prefigures Don Giovanni (which reuses some passages from Thamos almost directly), and Mozart’s later interest in Freemasonry, as found in The Magic Flute.

“Mozart’s Thamos, King of Egypt is a work that should be better known,” says Marco, “It’s one I have long dreamed of conducting.”

With powerful choruses and stirring solos, Thamos is a revelation.

The second half of the concert features Haydn’s Requiem in C minor. A better known work, it too is full of drama and passion. Written in the aftermath of the loss of his only child, Aloysia Antonia, who was less than a year old, and the death of his patron and friend, the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, Haydn crams into a relatively short Mass, a passionate depth of feeling that makes this one of the most intensely moving of Requiems.

Tickets for the concert are available at the door, from Sutton’s Books in Ulverston, or by telephone on 01229-837680.