Verdi's 'Requiem', the most human funeral mass ever sung - The Province

Verdi's 'Requiem', the most human funeral mass ever sung - The Province

The 35 Canary Islands International Music Festival (FIMC) program for Saturday, January 19, at 8:00 pm, at the Adán Martín de Tenerife Auditorium, and a day later, at the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium from Las Palmas, Requiem of Verdi, performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Gran Canaria, under the direction of Karel Mark Chichon, next to the State Choir of Kaunas and members of the National Opera Choir of Lithuania. The soprano Mariangela Sicilia, the mezzo Marianna Pizzolato, the tenor from Tenerife Celso will perform as soloists Albelo and bass Welshman Bryn Terfel, considered one of the most important lyric singers of his generation.

With dizzying rhythms, sublime melodies and dramatic contrasts, in this great work the music flows, presents beautiful sound effects and the vocal part fills with an enormous warmth, turning this Requiem of Verdi more in a lament before death than in a sample of faith in salvation and eternal life: the most human Mass for the dead ever sung.

For the director of the festival, Jorge Perdigón, Requiem de Verdi is one of the most important works of the symphonic-choral repertoire, together with Mozart, the 9th Beethoven and the Passion According to San Juan of Bach. It has come to be considered as one of the "best operas" of Verdi, despite being an oratorio.

The public interested in knowing in advance more details about this production can attend the introductory talk that will be offered one hour before the concert (7:00 pm) in the same auditoriums, in charge of the musician and disseminator Ricardo Ducatenzeiler, with the support of Fundación Cepsa. Tickets are available at and on the usual platforms of the two capital auditoriums.

It should be remembered that this is not the first time that this work is represented in the FIMC. In 2008 she was played by the Philarmonia Orchestra, under the baton of Riccardo Muti, with the Orfeón Donostiarra and the soprano Tatiana Serjan, the mezzo Ekaterina Gubanova, the tenor Giuseppe Sabatini and the bass Petri Lindroos in the vocal roles.

As the music teacher points out José Ramón Tapia, the merits of this work transcend the fact of being simply "the summit of liturgical music of the nineteenth century", according to the reflection of the Verdian expert Julian Budden. It is something else: a totally radical change in the way in which the society of that time established its relationship with the religious. This is how Verdi, above Mozart or Rossini, distances himself from the rituals of the liturgy in a context in which the division between Church and State sneaked into the individual search for the path to faith.

Thus, while for some it is "a prepotent profession of Catholic faith", for others it represents an unusual Requiem: "agnostic, dramatic and popular". Undoubtedly, it is one of the composer's masterpieces, in which he concentrates his musical thought in a more efficient and explosive way, in addition to offering "all the purely musical resources he had been developing during the course of twenty-three operas", in words of Budden.

It was the death of the poet and narrator Manzoni the reason that prompted Verdi to finish the work. "I am deeply saddened by the death of our great man," he wrote to the violinist Ricordi. "With him ends the purest, the holiest, the highest of our glories," he declared to his friend, the patron Clara Maffei.

Verdi directed his Requiem On May 22, 1874, at the San Marco church in Milan, one year after the death of Manzoni, a choir of 120 voices, an orchestra of one hundred instrumentalists and, as vocal soloists, Teresa Stolz (the first Aida), María Waldmann, Giuseppe Capponi and Armando Maini. Sometimes increased the number of staff, as in the case of a performance at the Albert Hall in London where a chorus of no less than 1,200 voices. The truth is that the premiere achieved a resounding public success, but was not immune to criticism, such as the one collected by the famous commentary of the German conductor Hans von Bülow, who considered it "an opera with ecclesiastical costumes". In any case, Joahannes Brahms came to Verdi's defense, stating that "Bülow has made a great mistake, only a genius can have written such a work".

Three days later, the play was performed at the La Scala theater in Milan; the Italian conductor and composer Franco Faccio was in charge of two further executions and, that same year, Verdi directed seven performances in Paris and another eight the following year.

Requiem Mass should not be considered an opera, nor does it pretend to, but it is necessary to agree on the fact that its notes distill the music of the Italian composer. In this regard, it has been commented that in the "Lux Aeterna" and the "Liber scriptus" a writing very similar to that of the IV act of the opera "Aida" is perceived.

By the way, Verdi warned about the interpretation of his "Requiem" that "this Mass should not be sung to the way an opera is sung" and, consequently, "the phrasing and the dynamics that can be good in the theater are not They satisfy me at all. " In this sense, as the musicologist David Rosen emphasizes, Verdi was particularly pleased with the interpretations of Paris, because they were less "theatrical" than the Italian ones.

As he says George Martin, author of a biography about the Italian composer, the goal of all the masses of the deceased is usually identical: to evoke in the listener a sense of peace. Verdi incorporated to the basic texts in these compositions the Set me free and also expanded the Dies irae to a score that he composed practically between the cities of Paris, Sant Agata (in the province of Piacenza) and Milan, from the winter of 1873 until the spring of 1874. "I am working at my Mass and I do it with pleasure", wrote the composer to the French theater and librettist manager Camille Du Locle. "I feel as if I have become a respectable citizen and I am no longer the clown of the public who, with a big tamburone and a bass drum, shouts: come, go up, etc. As you can imagine, when I listen to the operas of speak now my conscience is scandalized and immediately I make the sign of the cross ".


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