The Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Choir, conducted by Dr Nicholas Milton present a performance of Verdi’s Requiem this week. Soprano Sarah Ann Walker, mezzo-soprano Anna Yun, tenor David Woodward, and bass-baritone James Martin are the soloists in this monumental and dramatic sacred work, which conductor Hans von Bulow called Oper in Kirchengewande (opera in ecclesiastical dress).
Following the completion of Aida in 1871, there was a hiatus in Verdi’s operatic writing writing for 16 years. However, Verdi’s friend, the Italian poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni died in May 1873, and Verdi completed the Messa da Requiem in 1874 to commemorate Manzoni’s life and work of.
Verdi wrote the soprano solo in the Requiem for Teresa Stolz, a woman with whom he became enamoured and who was the first Leonora in the 1869 version of La forza del destino and the first Aida in its Milanese première in 1872.
The Requiem has a fascinating history. When Rossini died in 1868, Verdi proposed that the most distinguished Italian composers collaborate on a composite requiem in Rossini’s honour. This composite was was completed but never performed and Verdi’s contribution, the Libera me was returned to him, becoming the the impetus for Verdi’s own stand alone work.
The operatic nature of the Requiem is unmistakable in style and content. The Lacrymosa is a duet discarded from Don Carlos during rehearsals in Paris; the fury of the Dies Irae and the fragility of the Lux Aeterna evoke vivid images true to the text.
Tickets: Adults $39, Concession $34, Child (under 16) $10, Family Pass $78
Call The Concourse Box Office on 9020 6968.